Fifty years ago, James D. Watson, then just twentyfour, helped launch the greatest ongoing scientific quest of our time. Now, with unique authority and sweeping vision, he gives us the first full account of the genetic revolution—from Mendel’s garden to the double helix to the sequencing of the human genome and beyond. Watson’s lively, panoramic narrative begins with the fanciful speculations of the ancients as to why “like begets like” before skipping ahead to 1866, when an Austrian monk named Gregor Mendel first deduced the basic laws of inheritance. But genetics as we recognize it today—with its capacity, both thrilling and sobering, to manipulate the very essence of living things—came into being only with the rise of molecular investigations culminating in the breakthrough discovery of the structure of DNA, for which Watson shared a Nobel prize in 1962. In the DNA molecule’s graceful curves was the key to a whole new science. Having shown that the secret of life is chemical, modern genetics has set mankind off on a journey unimaginable just a few decades ago. Watson provides the general reader with clear explanations of molecular processes and emerging technologies. He shows us how DNA continues to alter our understanding of human origins, and of our identities as groups and as individuals. And with the insight of one who has remained close to every advance in research since the double helix, he reveals how genetics has unleashed a wealth of possibilities to alter the human condition—from genetically modified foods to genetically modified babies—and transformed itself from a domain of pure research into one of big business as well. It is a sometimes topsy-turvy world full of great minds and great egos, driven by ambitions to improve the human condition as well as to improve investment portfolios, a world vividly captured in these pages. Facing a future of choices and social and ethical implications of which we dare not remain uninformed, we could have no better guide than James Watson, who leads us with the same bravura storytelling that made The Double Helix one of the most successful books on science ever published. Infused with a scientist’s awe at nature’s marvels and a humanist’s profound sympathies, DNA is destined to become the classic telling of the defining scientific saga of our age.
Along with Francis Crick, James Watson was the discoverer of the double helix structure of the DNA molecule, realising both how it was able to reproduce itself and how, through its immense variety, it was able to pass on genetic instructions from one generation to the next. Their discovery paved the way for fifty years of explosive scientific achievement of extraordinary importance, both in strictly scientific terms and in its technological and social significance. From Dolly the sheep to GM foods to designer babies, science-related newspaper headlines have been dominated by the implications of their work. In DNA, now fully updated and revised to include new findings in gene editing, epigenetics and agricultural chemistry, as well as two entirely new chapters on personal genomics and cancer research, Watson tells the story of this pioneering research and its impact on the world in which we live, from its beginnings to the present day. This is the most comprehensive and authoritative exploration of DNA’s impact – practical, social, and ethical – on our society and our world.
Applications of the Mathematical Sciences in Molecular Biology
Author: Eric S. Lander
Publisher: National Academies
In this first-ever survey of the partnership between mathematics and biology, leading experts look at how mathematical research and methods have made possible important discoveries in biology. Explores how differential geometry, topology, and differential mechanics have allowed researchers to "wind" and "unwind" DNA's double helix to understand the phenomenon of supercoiling. Explains how mathematical tools are revealing the workings of enzymes and proteins. Describes how mathematicians are detecting echoes from the origin of life by applying the stochastic and statictical theory to the study of DNA sequences.
Natural computing brings together nature and computing to develop new computational tools for problem solving; to synthesize natural patterns and behaviors in computers; and to potentially design novel types of computers. Fundamentals of Natural Computing: Basic Concepts, Algorithms, and Applications presents a wide-ranging survey of novel techniques and important applications of nature-based computing. This book presents theoretical and philosophical discussions, pseudocodes for algorithms, and computing paradigms that illustrate how computational techniques can be used to solve complex problems, simulate nature, explain natural phenomena, and possibly allow the development of new computing technologies. The author features a consistent and approachable, textbook-style format that includes lucid figures, tables, real-world examples, and different types of exercises that complement the concepts while encouraging readers to apply the computational tools in each chapter. Building progressively upon core concepts of nature-inspired techniques, the topics include evolutionary computing, neurocomputing, swarm intelligence, immunocomputing, fractal geometry, artificial life, quantum computing, and DNA computing. Fundamentals of Natural Computing is a self-contained introduction and a practical guide to nature-based computational approaches that will find numerous applications in a variety of growing fields including engineering, computer science, biological modeling, and bioinformatics.
With forty-four newly commissioned articles from an international cast of leading scholars, The Routledge Companion to Literature and Science traces the network of connections among literature, science, technology, mathematics, and medicine. Divided into three main sections, this volume: links diverse literatures to scientific disciplines from Artificial Intelligence to Thermodynamics surveys current theoretical and disciplinary approaches from Animal Studies to Semiotics traces the history and culture of literature and science from Greece and Rome to Postmodernism. Ranging from classical origins and modern revolutions to current developments in cultural science studies and the posthumanities, this indispensible volume offers a comprehensive resource for undergraduates, postgraduates, and researchers. With authoritative, accessible, and succinct treatments of the sciences in their literary dimensions and cultural frameworks, here is the essential guide to this vibrant area of study.
Where the Truth Lies is an absorbing account of a case of suspected fraud involving the tragic career of the molecular biologist Franz Moewus that illustrates all that can go wrong in scientific knowledge-making. Jan Sapp follows Moewus' meteoric flight among the greatest scientists of the twentieth century, to his denunciation as the perpetrator of one of the most ambitious cases of fraud in the history of science. The author reopens the case not to vindicate Moewus, but to show the lessons that the controversy reveals to the scientist. Professor Sapp demonstrates how what counts as evidence is negotiated in science, and reveals the difficulties scientists face in objectively testing the validity of their results. The author emphasizes the creative nature of science, the rhetorical nature of scientific reports, and the fictitious elements inherent in the construction and maintenance of scientific knowledge-making and knowledge-breaking claims.
Contributions of the Mathematical Sciences to Molecular Biology
Author: National Research Council
Publisher: National Academies Press
As researchers have pursued biology's secrets to the molecular level, mathematical and computer sciences have played an increasingly important role--in genome mapping, population genetics, and even the controversial search for "Eve," hypothetical mother of the human race. In this first-ever survey of the partnership between the two fields, leading experts look at how mathematical research and methods have made possible important discoveries in biology. The volume explores how differential geometry, topology, and differential mechanics have allowed researchers to "wind" and "unwind" DNA's double helix to understand the phenomenon of supercoiling. It explains how mathematical tools are revealing the workings of enzymes and proteins. And it describes how mathematicians are detecting echoes from the origin of life by applying stochastic and statistical theory to the study of DNA sequences. This informative and motivational book will be of interest to researchers, research administrators, and educators and students in mathematics, computer sciences, and biology.