“Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters” by Matt Ridley (books that matter to me)

This book, first published in 1999 and since reprinted multiple times, has a funny history with me. Before the advent of the Amazon Kindle, I used to travel with half the space devoted to clothes and other non-essentials and the other half allocated to BOOKS!!!! particularly when I’d have time to read on vacation. I took this particular book with me on a small-ship cruise with less than a hundred passengers. I would read a chapter or so, pause, cogitate, and come to the next meal full of wonder at what I’d learned or was prodded to think about. My fellow passengers may not have been thrilled but they were patient.

When this book was written in the relatively early days of realizing how genes were determinative of many human attributes. Further, altho some were eager to start playing with manipulating genes, it was becoming rapidly apparent that trying to promote a good result would often bring disaster along on the ride. This book does a marvelous job of explaining the science behind then-recent genetic discoveries as well as its risk and wonders. I found it fascinating. Altho I’ve persuaded fairly few people to read it since, I figure it’s worth trying again here, if only so one of you can enjoy the same sense of wonder that I did.

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