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The Language of genes by Steve Jones.

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Introduction

The Language of genes by Steve Jones Steve Jones's The Language of Genes offers a broad insight into the way genes work, why they are important and also how they be used in the future, not to mention how they can be misused. The book tackles many misconceptions and controversial aspects of genes as well as giving a person with no knowledge about genes a broad view with many examples. The Language of genes was adapted from the BBC Radio series by the same person, this shows in how easy the concepts are to understand. One of the main aims for a BBC programmed to do is entertain and educate, this book tries to follow this and succeeds in its attempt The book is titled the languages of genes because Steve Jones makes comparisons between genes and languages. Although there are some similarities I do not feel that the connection is very strong. He tries to use languages as a substitute for the way we classify humans with race. What's more he concentrates on dispelling the myths of race, showing that we are all completely equal and the only way we mite differentiate each other is through language. He does not however, tackle the superiority of English compared to other languages. ...read more.

Middle

This isn't as bad as it seems however, as he discusses the implications and conclusions in through detail, when previously they would have only known the sparse information which the media would have garnered them with. I found it documenting much of what has been accomplished already, bringing readers who had no prior knowledge, bar perceived knowledge. It dispelled this perceived knowledge rather quickly and slowly outlined the ramifications of these accomplishments and what we can expect in the future. Because of the time aspect of the book it will inevitably become dated which it has done. This is not to say it is not useful as it provides the key basics to the science. I found one of the most interesting aspects of the book was how he laid out what would happen to us, how our genes would act in the future. With spontaneous abortions and infant deaths, humans have selected from the survival of the fittest. Now that modern medicine has taken away some of this advantage we have the weak surviving on. This allows weak genes to survive and upsets the balance of things. This is a popular misconception as Jones points out; because of our current out breading we are now mixing our genes where they have never been mixed before and canceling out the effect of low infant deaths. ...read more.

Conclusion

The book must be informative enough so that we have a grasp of the content but not be to overbearing so as to dissuade a layperson from reading it. This is true with all popular science books and Jones comes to a great compromise. I was often however, left reading much repeated biology from the classroom, which at times became tedious, but I'm sure the average reader would have found this informative. Despite this fact I felt it fleshed out my knowledge of genetics with useful examples. I personally found the consequences of genetics the more interesting side of the book because of this tediousness. It provides a useful stepping stone to readers without prior knowledge to genetics and provides some food for thought for others. From his writings we can see his views on the subject being made very apparent. He is very against some of the things which can be done with genetics, pointing out that it is not the science involved which is the limiting factor to progress, it is the scientists and with good reason. That the danger is a demand in this science brought forth from the general public with little idea of the consequences. This maybe the fundamental reason for this book, to educate the public in the misconceptions and what may lead to our demise. Steven Vu ...read more.

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