- Tapa blanda: 352 páginas
- Editor: Flamingo; Edición: Revised edition (18 de septiembre de 2000)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 0006552439
- ISBN-13: 978-0006552437
- Valoración media de los clientes: Sé el primero en opinar sobre este producto
- Clasificación en los más vendidos de Amazon: nº193.228 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros (Ver el Top 100 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros)
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The Language of the Genes (Inglés) Tapa blanda – 18 sep 2000
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Steve Jones’s highly acclaimed, double prize-winning, bestselling first book is now fully revised to cover all the new genetic breakthroughs from GM food to Dolly the sheep.’An essential sightseer’s guide to our own genetic terrain.’ Peter Tallack, Sunday Telegraph
’Superb and stimulating…an exhilarating trip around the double spiral of DNA, a rush of gravity-defying concepts and wild swerves of the scientific imagination.’ J.G. Ballard, Daily Telegraph
’Not so much divination as demystification… An attempt to bring genetics and evolution more into the public domain. If, for instance, you ever wondered just what genetic engineering is about, here is as good a place as any to discover. Few have Jones’s ability to communicate a difficult idea with such humour, clarity, precision and ease.’ Laurence Hurst, Times Higher ; ‘Sensitive to the social issues raised by genetics… yet Jones’s interest reaches beyond contemporary social issues to the human past, to what genetics can and cannot tell us about our evolution and patterns of social development. He interleaves a broad knowledge of biology with considerations of cultural, demographic and – as his title indicates – linguistic history. At once instructive and captivating.’ Daniel J.Kevles, London Review of Books
A fully revised edition of the classic work on modern genetics, updated to coincide with the complete sequence of human DNA, cloning and genetically manipulated foods.
'Not so much divination or demystification…An attempt to bring genetics and evolution into the public domain. If, for instance, you ever wondered just what genetic engineering is about, here is as good a place as any to discover. Few have Jones's ability to communicate a difficult idea with such humour, clarity, precision and ease.'
LAURENCE HURST, 'Times Higher'
'Jones is sensitive to the social issues raised by genetics…yet his interest reaches beyond contemporary social issues to the human past, to what genetics can and cannot tell us about our evolution and patterns of social development. He interleaves a broad knowledge of biology with considerations of cultural, demographic and – as his title indicates – linguistic history. Jones's book is at once instructive and captivating.'
DANIEL J.KEVLES, 'London Review of Books'
'Trenchant, witty and enlightening…Jones's literate and wide-ranging book is an essential sightseer's guide to our own genetic terrain.'
PETER TALLACK, 'Sunday Telegraph'
This brilliant and witty book…is highly literate, and Jones goes a long way to bridging the deepening chasm between the two cultures. Not to know how genes affect us is to ignore the central factor in our lives.'
LEWIS WOLPERT, 'Daily Mail'
'Smoothly written and easily read…An absorbing and fascinating romp around the world of genetics.'
JOHN GRIBBIN, 'Sunday Times'
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In his Preface, Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics at University College, London, stresses that even in the seven years since the first edition appeared in 1993 "genetics - and public concern - have each exploded (p. xiii)... the biggest change ... has been in attitude. In the public mind, genetics is no longer a science but a faith, a curse or a salvation ... Biochemistry has become a branch of the social sciences and, some say, life will be explained in genetic terms. Many welcome the idea, some are filled with horror ... (p. xv)"
This book is not a textbook on the biochemistry of genes. Rather, assuming that the biological evidence has established beyond dispute the genetic similarities that link all living beings, from the humblest cell to rational man, Jones goes on to run through, in a friendly but scientific way, much of what we are vaguely conscious of in the history of homo sapiens from his/her appearance 100,000 to 150,000 years ago, probably in Africa, and to discuss the genetic traits of various human populations now spread throughout the world. He tells us about how and when that spread - and subsequent population interminglings - occurred. Of great interest is the effect that differentiated genetic development has on the propensity to contract various diseases, or the ability to resist them. Also, whereas for the hunter/gatherers or farmers thousands (even merely hundreds) of years ago, human life was often shortened by external factors like plague, starvation, cold, or being eaten by a tiger, nowadays it is mostly the running-down and failure of the basic internal genetic make-up of the elderly that causes death - hence the dominant importance of the study of the genes in medical research.
Jones's book is a very good read. However, I give it only two stars because I believe that it will leave the reader who is not a specialist scientist or philosopher with the substantially false impression that the 'language of the genes' explains EVERYTHING about humankind. Jones says: "Now that genetics has matured as a subject it is beginning to reveal an extraordinary PORTRAIT OF WHO WE ARE, WHAT WE WERE, AND WHAT WE MAY BECOME (my emphasis). This book is about what that picture contains (p. 18)."
My problem with this book emerges clearly from how Jones summarizes his book, near the end. This both confirms and contradicts his page 18 statement. Jones says: "This book has been a tale of HOW HUMANKIND HAS EVOLVED BY THE SAME RULES AS THOSE THAT PROPEL LESS PRETENTIOUS BEINGS (my emphasis; this confirms his earlier statement)". But Jones immediately continues: "HUMANS ARE, OF COURSE, MORE THAN APES WRIT LARGE (my emphasis). We have two unique attributes: to know the past and to plan the future. Both talents guarantee that OUR PROSPECTS DEPEND ON MUCH MORE THAN GENES (my emphasis; this contradicts his earlier statement) (p. 300)".
I have made a list of over twenty statements by Jones, which I will reproduce in full in a later comment, which are like the one just quoted from page 300, which denies that genes are all. I quote one more: "Gene sharing, from bacteria to humans, proves the unity of existence. It also defines the limits of what biology can say. A CHIMP MAY SHARE NINETY-EIGHT PERCENT OF ITS DNA WITH OURSELVES BUT IT IS NOT NINETY-EIGHT PERCENT HUMAN; IT IS NOT HUMAN AT ALL - IT IS A CHIMP (my emphasis). And does the fact that we have genes in common with a mouse, or a banana, say anything about human nature? SOME CLAIM THAT GENES WILL TELL US WHAT WE REALLY ARE. THE IDEA IS ABSURD (my emphasis). WHAT IT MEANS TO BE PART OF HUMANKIND ... calls for a lot more than a sequence of DNA bases and LIES OUTSIDE THE REALM OF SCIENCE ALTOGETHER (my emphasis)(p. 35)".
I am left puzzled. I do not think that I misread the book if I say that all along (apart from these startling denials that genes explain everything) the book assumes that genes do explain everything. The denials (though not infrequent) are never more than one or two sentences written in passing, and never ever a proper discussion; and there is never ever a single word to suggest what it is that makes a human being to be a human being, "not a chimp; more than an ape writ large". Is Jones defending two incompatible positions: genes are all, genes are not all? In the eight years since Jones published this updated edition, so much more has changed that another update is urgently required, telling us what he really thinks about the limits of Darwinian evolution, about Intelligent Design, about the inescapable need to admit the existence of a Designer, about the whole 'evolution'/Christianity debate.