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The anuncement in 2003 that the Human Geme Project had completed its map of the entire human geme was heralded as a stunning scientific breakthrough: our first full picture of the basic building blocks of human life. Since then, boasts about the benefits - and warnings of the dangers - of gemics have remained front-page news, with everyone agreeing that gemics has the potential to radically alter life as we kw it.For the nscientist, the claims and counterclaims are dizzying - what does it really mean to understand the geme? Barry Barnes and John Dupre offer an answer to that question and much more in Gemes and What to Make of Them , a clear and lively account of the gemic revolution and its promise. The book opens with a brief history of the science of genetics and gemics, from Mendel to Watson and Crick and all the way up to Craig Venter; from there the authors delve into the use of gemics in determining evolutionary paths - and what it can tell us, for example, about how far we really have come from our ape ancestors.Barnes and Dupre then consider both the power and risks of genetics, from the ecomic potential of plant gemes to overblown claims that certain human genes can be directly tied to such traits as intelligence or homosexuality. Ultimately, the authors argue, we are w living with a new kwledge as powerful in its way as nuclear physics, and the stark choices that face us - between biological warfare and gene therapy, a new eugenics or a new agricultural revolution - will demand the full engagement of both scientists and citizens.Written in straightforward language but without denying the complexity of the issues, Gemes and What to Make of Them is an up-to-date primer and a blueprint for the future.
Barry Barnes is codirector of the ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society at the University of Exeter, where he was formerly professor of sociology. He is the author of several books on the sociology of the sciences and was awarded the J. D. Bernal Prize for his career contribution to the field. John Dupre is the director of the ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society, professor of philosophy of science at the University of Exeter, and the author of several books, including Darwin's Legacy: What Evolution Means Today.