A Passion for DNA: Genes, Genomes, and Society

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Oxford University Press, 2001 - Science - 250 pages
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In 1953, two young, unknown scientists sparked a worldwide revolution. Studying DNA for clues to the nature of genes, James Watson and Francis Crick deduced its molecular composition - two chains twisted into a double helix - and immediately realized that the structure implied how genes were copied and passed from one generation to the next. Their observation has had extraordinary consequences: the discovery of a genetic code that all living things share and the realization that the code translates into proteins; the ability to alter an organism's genetic make-up; recognition that diseases like cancer begin when genes go wrong; the foundations of a biotechnology industry and the means of cloning plants and animals; a start on cataloguing human genes; and the glimmer of a new kind of medicine that uses DNA therapeutically.
 

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Contents

Values from a Chicago Upbringing
3
Growing Up in the Phage Group
7
Minds That Live for Science
17
Early Speculations and Facts about RNA Templates
23
Braggs Foreword to The Double Helix
33
Luria Hershey and Pauling
37
In Further Defense of DNA
49
Standing Up for Recombinant DNA
61
Some Rules of Thumb
123
The Academic Community and Cancer Research
129
Maintaining HighQuality Cancer Research in a ZeroSum Era
139
The Science for Beating Down Cancer
147
Moving on to Human DNA
163
Ethical Implications of the Human Genome Project
169
Genes and Politics
179
Five Days in Berlin
209

The Nobelist Versus the Film Star
71
The DNA Biohazard Canard
75
Is This What We Want?
83
The Dissemination of Unpublished Information
91
Science and the American Scene
105
The Necessity for Some Academic Aloofness
109
Striving for Excellence
117
What Is the Right Way to Fight the Tragedy of Genetic Disease?
223
All for the GoodWhy Genetic Engineering Must Soldier On
227
EnvoiDNA Peace and Laughter
231
Name Index
239
Subject Index
245
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

James D. Watson was Director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York, from 1968 to 1993 and is now its President. He was the first Director of the National Center for Humane Genome Research of the National Institutes of Health from 1989 to 1992. With Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962. He is the author of the best-selling memoir The Double Helix and the groundbreaking textbook TheMolecular Biology of the Gene, and is co-author of Molecular Biology of the Cell and Recombinant DNA: A Short Course.Among many other awards and honors, Dr Watson is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science.

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