IntroductionEgenis Directors launch new book
The mapping of the human genome, announced as the new century opened, was a scientific sensation. The media abounded with stories about our new knowledge of the building blocks of human life and the tremendous medical breakthroughs that were sure to follow. Other accounts put a darker spin on the achievement, warning of consequences from genetic discrimination to designer germs.
For the layman, the claims and counterclaims can be dizzying; it’s hard to know just what the genomics revolution is likely to mean in our everyday lives. With Genomes and What to Make of Them, Egenis directors Barry Barnes and John Dupré cut through the confusion and offer a straightforward account of what we know, what we can hope for, and what, if anything, we should fear. Opening with a brief discussion of genetics and genomics, from Mendel to Watson and Crick to Craig Venter, Genomes and What to Make of Them explains what genomics tells us about our evolutionary history, what it can reveal on the individual level, such as our risk of disease, and what it offers us collectively in terms of new powers and capacities. Meanwhile, the authors argue, the dangers associated with these new powers—from biological warfare to a revived eugenics—are very real, and demand continuing vigilance if we are safely to realize the full potential of this rapidly growing science. Engagingly written and wide-ranging, Genomes and What to Make of Them is both a primer on current knowledge and a road map to an exciting future.
The book is published in the USA on 1 December, and in the UK on 15 December, priced $25.00/£13.00. It can be ordered from any bookshop quoting ISBN 978-0-226-17295-8, or by calling UK distributor John Wiley on 01243 779777.
“Beneath the surface and beyond the hype, our concepts of how biological things work really have changed fundamentally, and it matters. This book helps explain how and why it matters. Welcome to the future of genomics. It will be a long and glorious ride. This book is a good place to start that exploration.” - Robert M. Cook-Deegan, Duke University