Why there is more to the human genome than meets the eye

Author: John Parrington

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0192552473

Category: Science

Page: 368

View: 3864

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.
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From Simple Traits, to Complex Traits, to Personalized Medicine

Author: Nicholas Wright Gillham

Publisher: FT Press

ISBN: 9780132623247

Category: Medical

Page: 352

View: 6234

This very readable overview of the rise and transformations of medical genetics and of the eugenic impulses that have been inspired by the emerging understanding of the genetic basis of many diseases and disabilities is based on a popular nonmajors course, "Social Implications of Genetics," that Gillham gave for many years at Duke University. The book is suitable for use as a text in similar overview courses about genes and social issues or genes and disease. It gives a good overview of the developments and status of this field for a wide range of biomedical researchers, physicians, and students, especially those interested in the prospects for the new, genetics-based personalized medicine.
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The New Age of Genomics

Author: Dawn Field,Neil Davies

Publisher: American Chemical Society

ISBN: 0199687757

Category: Science

Page: 196

View: 6823

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.
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How Molecular Machines Extract Order from Chaos

Author: Peter M. Hoffmann

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465022537

Category: Science

Page: 278

View: 1631

A physicist describes how life emerges from the random motion of atoms through sophisticated cellular machinery and describes the long quest to determine the true nature of life from ancient Greece to the study of modern nanotechnology. 20,000 first printing.
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How Genome Editing Will Transform the World

Author: John Parrington

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198766823

Category: Science

Page: 320

View: 4098

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.
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A Journey Through the Dark Matter of the Genome

Author: Nessa Carey

Publisher: Icon Books

ISBN: 184831826X

Category: Science

Page: 288

View: 5471

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.
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How Modern Biology Is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Disease, and Inheritance

Author: Nessa Carey

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231530714

Category: Science

Page: 352

View: 3034

Epigenetics can potentially revolutionize our understanding of the structure and behavior of biological life on Earth. It explains why mapping an organism's genetic code is not enough to determine how it develops or acts and shows how nurture combines with nature to engineer biological diversity. Surveying the twenty-year history of the field while also highlighting its latest findings and innovations, this volume provides a readily understandable introduction to the foundations of epigenetics. Nessa Carey, a leading epigenetics researcher, connects the field's arguments to such diverse phenomena as how ants and queen bees control their colonies; why tortoiseshell cats are always female; why some plants need cold weather before they can flower; and how our bodies age and develop disease. Reaching beyond biology, epigenetics now informs work on drug addiction, the long-term effects of famine, and the physical and psychological consequences of childhood trauma. Carey concludes with a discussion of the future directions for this research and its ability to improve human health and well-being.
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Exposing Our Genetic Future, One Quirk at a Time

Author: Lone Frank

Publisher: Oneworld Publications

ISBN: 1851688641

Category: Science

Page: 328

View: 5304

What if you could predict your future – which political party you will vote for, what kind of person you will marry, which disease will end your life, whether your blue mood will fester into something more troubling, even debilitating. Would you want to know? Taking a uniquely intimate and cheeky approach to the personal genomics revolution, internationally acclaimed science writer Lone Frank swabs up her genetic code to explore who any of us are in the days when a catalogue of your full six billion DNA building blocks is available for $10,000 and the local Walgreens offers genetic screening tests to anyone. She challenges the august Nobel Prize winners and the hyperactive business mavericks who are pushing to map and decipher every fetus’s genome within the next decade. She tests the potential to detect diseases early, as well as our capacity to develop chronic anxieties when our DNA is seen as a death sentence. She ponders whether personality, including her own above-average irritability and non-conformity, can really be reduced to biochemistry. And she prods the psychologists who hope to uncover just how much or how little our environment will matter in the new genetic century – a quest made all the more gripping as Frank considers her family’s and her own struggles with depression. At turns compellingly candid and irreverently insightful, Frank provides the first truly personal account of the new science of consumer-led genomics – and to what extent our genes determine our destiny. Lone Frank is the author of The Neurotourist: Postcards from the Edge of Brain Science (ISBN 9781851687961). She holds a PhD in neurobiology and was previously a research scientist working in the biotechnology industry in the United States. An award-winning science journalist and TV documentary presenter, she has written for such publicationsn as Scientific American, Science, and Nature Biotechnology and is a frequent speaker at venues including Harvard Medical School, the Library of Congress, the Royal Society, and TED. Praise for The Neurotourist “A fascinating exploration of the most intriguing brain experiments so far.” New Scientist “Riveting.” Rita Carter, author of Mapping the Mind
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From the Color of Your Eyes to the Length of Your Life, a Revealing Look at Your Genetic Traits

Author: Katie McKissick

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1440567646

Category: Reference

Page: 256

View: 9636

A crash course in genetics! Everyone knows that if you come from a family of brunettes, you're likely to be born with brown hair. But did you know your hair color may also affect how often you get sunburned? Or how often you need to take vitamin supplements? What's in Your Genes? goes beyond Gregor Mendel and dominant/recessive genes to show you all the ins and outs of what determines your DNA. Each entry provides you with a sneak peek into your DNA sequence and teaches you exactly how your body is able to create that wonderful you-ness that no one else has. From your tastebuds to your eye color to your obsession with clinical-strength deodorants, this book not only guides you through the history and study of genetics, but also shows you how those four little letters in your DNA make you who you are. Complete with imaginative illustrations, What's in Your Genes? reveals all there is to know about heredity--like the science behind vibrant red hair, perfect teeth, and your ability to see in color.
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Science and Fiction in the Genome Age

Author: Everett Hamner

Publisher: Penn State Press

ISBN: 0271080523

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 280

View: 7309

Personal genome testing, gene editing for life-threatening diseases, synthetic life: once the stuff of science fiction, twentieth- and twenty-first-century advancements blur the lines between scientific narrative and scientific fact. This examination of bioengineering in popular and literary culture shows that the influence of science on science fiction is more reciprocal than we might expect. Looking closely at the work of Margaret Atwood, Richard Powers, and other authors, as well as at film, comics, and serial television such as Orphan Black, Everett Hamner shows how the genome age is transforming both the most commercial and the most sophisticated stories we tell about the core of human personhood. As sublime technologies garner public awareness beyond the genre fiction shelves, they inspire new literary categories like “slipstream” and shape new definitions of the human, the animal, the natural, and the artificial. In turn, what we learn of bioengineering via popular and literary culture prepares the way for its official adoption or restriction—and for additional representations. By imagining the connections between emergent gene testing and editing capacities and long-standing conversations about freedom and determinism, these stories help build a cultural zeitgeist with a sharper, more balanced vision of predisposed agency. A compelling exploration of the interrelationships among science, popular culture, and self, Editing the Soul sheds vital light on what the genome age means to us, and what’s to come.
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A Graphic Guide

Author: Cath Ennis

Publisher: Icon Books Ltd

ISBN: 1848319037

Category: Science

Page: 176

View: 533

Epigenetics is the most exciting field in biology today, developing our understanding of how and why we inherit certain traits, develop diseases and age, and evolve as a species. This non-fiction comic book introduces us to genetics, cell biology and the fascinating science of epigenetics, which is rapidly filling in the gaps in our knowledge, allowing us to make huge advances in medicine. We’ll look at what identical twins can teach us about the epigenetic effects of our environment and experiences, why certain genes are 'switched on' or off at various stages of embryonic development, and how scientists have reversed the specialization of cells to clone frogs from a single gut cell. In Introducing Epigenetics, Cath Ennis and Oliver Pugh pull apart the double helix, examining how the epigenetic building blocks and messengers that interpret and edit our genes help to make us, well, us.
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Author: Barbara A. Koenig,Sandra Soo-Jin Lee,Sarah S. Richardson

Publisher: Rutgers University Press

ISBN: 081354324X

Category: Science

Page: 376

View: 9087

Revisting Race in the Genomic Age takes a cutting-edge look at emerging genetic technologies and their impact on current conceptions of race and human identity. Essays will explore genomic science as an important anthropological and sociological case in the development of race theory as well as examine the social, ethical, and legal implications of emerging genomic technologies. Philosophers join anthropologists and scientists working in human genetic variation research to make this a truly interdisciplinary work. Following the introduction, essays in section one will present the conceptual frameworks on race as related to human genetic variation research. The heart of the book is made of up three sections focusing on three significant themes in this emerging cross-disciplinary engagement. Sections are "Race-targeted Research and Therapeutics," "Genetic Ancestry, Identity, and Group Membership," and "Race and Genetics in Public Discourse."
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Author: John Parrington

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0191079723

Category: Science

Page: 320

View: 6777

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.
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An Introduction to Behavioral Epigenetics

Author: David S. Moore

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199922357

Category: Medical

Page: 272

View: 1576

Why do we grow up to look, act, and feel as we do? Through most of the twentieth century, scientists and laypeople answered this question by referring to two factors alone: our experiences and our genes. But recent discoveries about how genes work have revealed a new way to understand the developmental origins of our characteristics. These discoveries have emerged from the new science of behavioral epigenetics--and just as the whole world has now heard of DNA, "epigenetics" will be a household word in the near future. Behavioral epigenetics is important because it explains how our experiences get under our skin and influence the activity of our genes. Because of breakthroughs in this field, we now know that the genes we're born with don't determine if we'll end up easily stressed, likely to fall ill with cancer, or possessed of a powerful intellect. Instead, what matters is what our genes do. And because research in behavioral epigenetics has shown that our experiences influence how our genes function, this work has changed how scientists think about nature, nurture, and human development. Diets, environmental toxins, parenting styles, and other environmental factors all influence genetic activity through epigenetic mechanisms; this discovery has the potential to alter how doctors treat diseases, and to change how mental health professionals treat conditions from schizophrenia to post-traumatic stress disorder. These advances could also force a reworking of the theory of evolution that dominated twentieth-century biology, and even change how we think about human nature itself. In spite of the importance of this research, behavioral epigenetics is still relatively unknown to non-biologists. The Developing Genome is an introduction to this exciting new discipline; it will allow readers without a background in biology to learn about this work and its revolutionary implications.
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How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are

Author: Sebastian Seung

Publisher: HMH

ISBN: 0547508174

Category: Science

Page: 256

View: 6010

“Accessible, witty . . . an important new researcher, philosopher and popularizer of brain science . . . on par with cosmology’s Brian Greene and the late Carl Sagan” (The Plain Dealer). One of the Wall Street Journal’s 10 Best Nonfiction Books of the Year and a Publishers Weekly “Top Ten in Science” Title Every person is unique, but science has struggled to pinpoint where, precisely, that uniqueness resides. Our genome may determine our eye color and even aspects of our character. But our friendships, failures, and passions also shape who we are. The question is: How? Sebastian Seung is at the forefront of a revolution in neuroscience. He believes that our identity lies not in our genes, but in the connections between our brain cells—our particular wiring. Seung and a dedicated group of researchers are leading the effort to map these connections, neuron by neuron, synapse by synapse. It’s a monumental effort, but if they succeed, they will uncover the basis of personality, identity, intelligence, memory, and perhaps disorders such as autism and schizophrenia. Connectome is a mind-bending adventure story offering a daring scientific and technological vision for understanding what makes us who we are, as individuals and as a species. “This is complicated stuff, and it is a testament to Dr. Seung’s remarkable clarity of exposition that the reader is swept along with his enthusiasm, as he moves from the basics of neuroscience out to the farthest regions of the hypothetical, sketching out a spectacularly illustrated giant map of the universe of man.” —TheNew York Times “An elegant primer on what’s known about how the brain is organized and how it grows, wires its neurons, perceives its environment, modifies or repairs itself, and stores information. Seung is a clear, lively writer who chooses vivid examples.” —TheWashington Post
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The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

Author: Matt Ridley

Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 0062253468

Category: Science

Page: 368

View: 9215

The genome's been mapped. But what does it mean? Arguably the most significant scientific discovery of the new century, the mapping of the twenty-three pairs of chromosomes that make up the human genome raises almost as many questions as it answers. Questions that will profoundly impact the way we think about disease, about longevity, and about free will. Questions that will affect the rest of your life. Genome offers extraordinary insight into the ramifications of this incredible breakthrough. By picking one newly discovered gene from each pair of chromosomes and telling its story, Matt Ridley recounts the history of our species and its ancestors from the dawn of life to the brink of future medicine. From Huntington's disease to cancer, from the applications of gene therapy to the horrors of eugenics, Matt Ridley probes the scientific, philosophical, and moral issues arising as a result of the mapping of the genome. It will help you understand what this scientific milestone means for you, for your children, and for humankind.
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The Enzyme That Holds the Key to Human Aging and Will Soon Lead to Longer, Healthier Lives

Author: Michael Fossel

Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.

ISBN: 1941631703

Category: Science

Page: 256

View: 917

One of Wall Street Journal’s "Best Books for Science Lovers" in 2015 Science is on the cusp of a revolutionary breakthrough. We now understand more about aging—and how to prevent and reverse it—than ever before. In recent years, our understanding of the nature of aging has grown exponentially, and dramatic life extension—even age reversal—has moved from science fiction to real possibility. Dr. Michael Fossel has been in the forefront of aging research for decades and is the author of the definitive textbook on human aging. In The Telomerase Revolution, he takes us on a detailed but highly accessible scientific journey, providing startling insights into the nature of human aging. Twenty years ago, there was still considerable debate of the nature of human aging, with a variety of competing theories in play. But scientific consensus is forming around the telomere theory of aging. The essence of this theory is that human aging is the result of cellular aging. Every time a cell reproduces, its telomeres (the tips of the chromosomes) shorten. With every shortening of the telomeres, the cell’s ability to repair its molecules decreases. It ages. Human aging is the result of the aging of the body’s trillions of cells. But some of our cells don’t age. Sex cells and stem cells can reproduce indefinitely, without aging, because they create telomerase. Telomerase re-lengthens the telomeres, keeping these cells young. The Telomerase Revolution describes how telomerase will soon be used as a powerful therapeutic tool, with the potential to dramatically extend life spans and even reverse human aging. Telomerase-based treatments are already available, and have shown early promise, but much more potent treatments will become available over the next decade. The Telomerase Revolution is the definitive work on the latest science on human aging, covering both the theory and the clinical implications. It takes the reader to the forefront of the upcoming revolution in human medicine.
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The Radical New Discoveries about the Origins and Evolution of Life on Earth

Author: Peter Ward,Joe Kirschvink

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 1608199088

Category: Science

Page: 400

View: 5311

Charles Darwin's theories, first published more than 150 years ago, form the backbone of how we understand the history of the Earth. In reality, the currently accepted history of life on Earth is so flawed, so out of date, that it's past time we need a 'New History of Life.' In their latest book, Joe Kirschvink and Peter Ward will show that many of our most cherished beliefs about the evolution of life are wrong. Gathering and analyzing years of discoveries and research not yet widely known to the public, A New History of Life proposes a different origin of species than the one Darwin proposed, one which includes eight-foot-long centipedes, a frozen "snowball Earth†?, and the seeds for life originating on Mars. Drawing on their years of experience in paleontology, biology, chemistry, and astrobiology, experts Ward and Kirschvink paint a picture of the origins life on Earth that are at once too fabulous to imagine and too familiar to dismiss--and looking forward, A New History of Life brilliantly assembles insights from some of the latest scientific research to understand how life on Earth can and might evolve far into the future.
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What Everyone Needs to Know?

Author: Michael Snyder

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190234784

Category: Science

Page: 240

View: 7831

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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