Mobile DNA, by Author (Softcover, 2011)|
(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)
Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
The audience for this book is the biological researcher or other person with a professional interest in genetic research. This book would make an excellent companion for graduate (and perhaps undergraduate) studies in molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, and related fields. The author is interesting and writes well, but to appreciate this book you probably need prior exposure to the genetic sciences.
As I live in a metro area with a university that's renowned for medical research, I've attended a fair number of technical presentations in the same genre as this book. So, I have some basis on which to evaluate this book.
What I liked most about it is the author provides the human aspect to this often abstract research. While the science being discussed is real (and quite spectacular in terms of its value), his emphasis is on telling us about the people who do/did the research (at least, those in his lab) and some of the challenges they overcame.
The "junk" referred to in the subtitle is the famous "junk DNA" that early genetic researchers could find no role for. The best they could tell, this DNA was just vestigial, some kind of junk left over from evolution. It turns out, however, this isn't junk after all. In fact, it's a treasure trove of genetic material.
The "mobile" referred to in the title is a concept startling to many of us who had a fundamental education in genetics and haven't kept up with the latest developments. Rather than being fixed in place by some preordained instructions, some DNA actually moves from place to place within a genome. Dr. Kazazian explains quite a bit about this discovery and those who discovered it.
Dr. Kazazian also explains the implications of mobile DNA. And in the final chapter, he makes some very interesting, thought-provoking predictions.
I reviewed a pre-release version that consisted of 223 pages and 19 chapters. It also has 20 pages of references, nearly all of which are primary sources.
If you want insight into some of today's most seminal and exciting research, this book is for you.