the deeper genome why there is more to the human genome than meets the eye

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The Deeper Genome

Author : John Parrington
ISBN : 9780192552471
Genre : Science
File Size : 81. 95 MB
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Over a decade ago, as the Human Genome Project completed its mapping of the entire human genome, hopes ran high that we would rapidly be able to use our knowledge of human genes to tackle many inherited diseases, and understand what makes us unique among animals. But things didn't turn out that way. For a start, we turned out to have far fewer genes than originally thought — just over 20,000, the same sort of number as a fruit fly or worm. What's more, the proportion of DNA consisting of genes coding for proteins was a mere 2%. So, was the rest of the genome accumulated 'junk'? Things have changed since those early heady days of the Human Genome Project. But the emerging picture is if anything far more exciting. In this book, John Parrington explains the key features that are coming to light - some, such as the results of the international ENCODE programme, still much debated and controversial in their scope. He gives an outline of the deeper genome, involving layers of regulatory elements controlling and coordinating the switching on and off of genes; the impact of its 3D geometry; the discovery of a variety of new RNAs playing critical roles; the epigenetic changes influenced by the environment and life experiences that can make identical twins different and be passed on to the next generation; and the clues coming out of comparisons with the genomes of Neanderthals as well as that of chimps about the development of our species. We are learning more about ourselves, and about the genetic aspects of many diseases. But in its complexity, flexibility, and ability to respond to environmental cues, the human genome is proving to be far more subtle than we ever imagined.

The Deeper Genome

Author : John Parrington
ISBN : 9780199688739
Genre : Science
File Size : 80. 33 MB
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As the Human Genome Project completed its mapping of the entire human genome, hopes ran high that we would rapidly be able to use our knowledge of human genes to tackle many inherited diseases, and understand what makes us unique among animals. But things didn't turn out that way ... but the emerging picture is if anything far more exciting. Parrington gives an outline of the deeper genome, involving layers of regulatory elements controlling and coordinating the switching on and off of genes; the impact of its 3D geometry; the discovery of a variety of new RNAs playing critical roles; the epigenetic changes influenced by the environment and life experiences that can make identical twins different and be passed on to the next generation; and the clues coming out of comparisons with the genomes of Neanderthals as well as that of chimps about the development of our species.

Junk Dna

Author : Nessa Carey
ISBN : 9781848318267
Genre : Science
File Size : 78. 42 MB
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From the author of the acclaimed The Epigenetics Revolution (‘A book that would have had Darwin swooning’ – Guardian) comes another thrilling exploration of the cutting edge of human science. For decades after the structure of DNA was identified, scientists focused purely on genes, the regions of the genome that contain codes for the production of proteins. Other regions – 98% of the human genome – were dismissed as ‘junk’. But in recent years researchers have discovered that variations in this ‘junk’ DNA underlie many previously intractable diseases, and they can now generate new approaches to tackling them. Nessa Carey explores, for the first time for a general audience, the incredible story behind a controversy that has generated unusually vituperative public exchanges between scientists. She shows how junk DNA plays an important role in areas as diverse as genetic diseases, viral infections, sex determination in mammals, human biological complexity, disease treatments, even evolution itself – and reveals how we are only now truly unlocking its secrets, more than half a century after Crick and Watson won their Nobel prize for the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1962.

Redesigning Life

Author : John Parrington
ISBN : 9780198766827
Genre : Science
File Size : 33. 36 MB
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Since the birth of civilisation, human beings have manipulated other life-forms. We have selectively bred plants and animals for thousands of years to maximize agricultural production and cater to our tastes in pets. The observation of the creation of artificial animal and plant variants was a key stimulant for Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. The ability to directly engineer the genomes of organisms first became possible in the 1970s, when the gene for human insulin was introduced into bacteria to produce this protein for diabetics. At the same time, mice were modified to produce human growth hormone, and grew huge as a result. But these were only our first tottering steps into the possibilities of genetic engineering. In the past few years, the pace of progress has accelerated enormously. We can now cut and paste genes using molecular scissors with astonishing ease, and the new technology of genome editing can be applied to practically any species of plants or animals. 'Mutation chain reaction' can be used to alter the genes of a population of pests, such as flies; as the modified creatures breed, the mutation is spread through the population, so that within a few generations the organism is almost completely altered. At the same time, scientists are also beginning to synthesize new organisms from scratch. These new technologies hold much promise for improving lives. Genome editing has already been used clinically to treat AIDS patients, by genetically modifying their white blood cells to be resistant to HIV. In agriculture, genome editing could be used to engineer species with increased food output, and the ability to thrive in challenging climates. New bacterial forms may be used to generate energy. But these powerful new techniques also raise important ethical dilemmas and potential dangers, pressing issues that are already upon us given the speed of scientific developments. To what extent should parents be able to manipulate the genetics of their offspring - and would designer babies be limited to the rich? Can we effectively weigh up the risks from introducing synthetic lifeforms into complex ecosystems? John Parrington explains the nature and possibilities of these new scientific developments, which could usher in a brave, new world. We must rapidly come to understand its implications if we are to direct its huge potential to the good of humanity and the planet.

Biocode

Author : Dawn Field
ISBN : 9780199687756
Genre : Science
File Size : 88. 5 MB
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The living world runs on genomic software - what Dawn Field and Neil Davies call the 'biocode' - the sum of all DNA on Earth. In Biocode, they tell the story of a new age of scientific discovery: the growing global effort to read and map the biocode, and what that might mean for the future. The structure of DNA was identified in 1953, and the whole human genome was mapped by 2003. Since then the new field of genomics has mushroomed and is now operating on an industrial scale. Genomes can now be sequenced rapidly and increasingly cheaply. The genomes of large numbers of organisms from mammals to microbes, have been mapped. Getting your genome sequenced is becoming affordable for many. You too can check paternity, find out where your ancestors came from, or whether you are at risk of some diseases. Some check out the pedigree of their pets, while others turn genomes into art. A stray hair is enough to crudely reconstruct the face of the owner. From reading to constructing: the first steps to creating artificial life have already been taken. Some may find the rapidity of developments, and the potential for misuse, alarming. But they also open up unprecedented possibilities. The ability to read DNA has changed how we view ourselves and understand our place in nature. From the largest oceans, to the insides of our guts, we are able to explore the biosphere as never before, from the genome up. Sequencing technology has made the invisible world of microbes visible, and biodiversity genomics is revealing whole new worlds within us and without. The findings are transformational: we are all ecosystems now. Already the first efforts at 'barcoding' entire ecological communities and creating 'genomic observatories' have begun. The future, the authors argue, will involve biocoding the entire planet.

Evolving Ourselves

Author : Juan Enriquez
ISBN : 9780143108344
Genre : Science
File Size : 40. 91 MB
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"Futurist Juan Enriquez and scientist Steve Gullans conduct a sweeping tour of how humans are changing the course of evolution for all species--sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. For example: What if life forms are limited only by the bounds of our imagination? Are designer babies and pets, de-extinction, even entirely newspecies fair game?; As humans, animals, and plants become ever more resistant to disease and aging, what will become the leading causes of death?; Man-machine interfaces may allow humans to live much longer. What will happen when we transfer parts of our 'selves' into clones, into stored cells and machines? Though these harbingers of change are deeply unsettling, the authors argue we are also in an epoch of tremendous opportunity. Future humans, perhaps a more diverse, resilient, gentler, and intelligent species, may become better caretakers of the planet--but only if we make the right choices now."--Provided by publisher.

The Society Of Genes

Author : Itai Yanai
ISBN : 9780674425026
Genre : Science
File Size : 90. 72 MB
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Since Dawkins popularized the notion of the selfish gene, the question of how these selfish genes work together to construct an organism remained a mystery. Now, standing atop a wealth of new research, Itai Yanai and Martin Lercher—pioneers in the field of systems biology—provide a vision of how genes cooperate and compete in the struggle for life.

The Myth Of Junk Dna

Author : Jonathan Wells
ISBN : 1936599007
Genre : Science
File Size : 50. 24 MB
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According to the modern version of Darwin's theory, DNA contains a program for embryo development that is passed down from generation to generation; the program is implemented by proteins encoded by the DNA, and accidental DNA mutations introduce changes in those proteins that natural selection then shapes into new species, organs and body plans. When scientists discovered forty years ago that about 98% of our DNA does not encode proteins, the non-protein-coding portion was labeled “junk” and attributed to molecular accidents that have accumulated in the course of evolution. Recent books by Richard Dawkins, Francis Collins and others have used this “junk DNA” as evidence for Darwinian evolution and evidence against intelligent design (since an intelligent designer would presumably not have filled our genome with so much garbage). But recent genome evidence shows that much of our non-protein-coding DNA performs essential biological functions. The Myth of Junk DNA is written for a general audience by biologist Jonathan Wells, author of Icons of Evolution. Citing some of the abundant evidence from recent genome projects, the book shows that “junk DNA” is not science, but myth.

The Mysterious World Of The Human Genome

Author : Frank Ryan
ISBN : 9781633881532
Genre : Science
File Size : 63. 30 MB
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The human genome is indeed a mysterious world, but, as this fascinating book shows, its vital secrets are now being uncovered. The latest studies are revealing exciting new discoveries, such as how the DNA and related chemical compounds in our cells work together to direct the processes of life. Scientists are not only unraveling how life evolved in the ancient past, but are also finding the keys to creating a healthier future. How does the minuscule chemical cluster in each of our 100 trillion cells accomplish the amazing feat of creating and maintaining our bodies? Frank Ryan, a physician and an evolutionary biologist, describes the complex ways in which the genome operates as a holistic system and not solely through genes coding for proteins—the building blocks of life. Also involved are elaborate switching mechanisms that regulate and control portions of our DNA, as well as the interplay of retroviruses and bacteria. This groundbreaking book explains that we are on the cusp of an amazing era of disease treatment and eradication. From the Hardcover edition.

Genomics And Personalized Medicine

Author : Michael Snyder
ISBN : 9780190234782
Genre : Science
File Size : 42. 93 MB
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In 2001 the Human Genome Project succeeded in mapping the DNA of humans. This landmark accomplishment launched the field of genomics, the integrated study of all the genes in the human body and the related biomedical interventions that can be tailored to benefit a person's health. Today genomics, part of a larger movement toward personalized medicine, is poised to revolutionize health care. By cross-referencing an individual's genetic sequence -- their genome -- against known elements of "Big Data," elements of genomics are already being incorporated on a widespread basis, including prenatal disease screening and targeted cancer treatments. With more innovations soon to arrive at the bedside, the promise of the genomics revolution is limitless. This entry in the What Everyone Needs to Know series offers an authoritative resource on the prospects and realities of genomics and personalized medicine. As this science continues to alter traditional medical paradigms, consumers are faced with additional options and more complicated decisions regarding their health care. This book provides the essential information everyone needs.

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