Biology, History and Philosophy of Science, Press Releases, Sociology

Press Release: Barnes and Dupré, Genomes and What to Make of Them

jacket imageThe mapping of the human genome at the turn of the twenty-first century by the Human Genome Project was a scientific sensation. The media abounded with stories about our new knowledge of the building blocks of human life and the tremendous medical breakthroughs that were sure to follow—while other accounts put a darker spin on the achievement, warning of consequences from genetic discrimination to designer germs.
For the layman, the claims and counterclaims can be dizzying; it’s hard to know just what the genomics revolution is likely to mean in our everyday lives. With Genomes and What to Make of Them, Barry Barnes and John Dupré cut through the confusion and offer a smart and straightforward account of what we know, what we can hope for, and what, if anything, we should fear. Opening with a brief history of genetics and genomics, from Mendel to Watson and Crick to Craig Venter, Genomes and What to Make of Them explains what genomics tells us about our evolutionary history and what it can reveal on the individual level, such as our risk of disease. Meanwhile, the authors argue, the dangers of genetic research—from biological warfare to a revived eugenics—are very real, and only a proactive government and a vigilant citizenry can ensure the full life-enhancing potential of this exciting new science. Engagingly written and up-to-date, Genomes and What to Make of Them is both a primer on current knowledge and a road map to an exciting future.
Read the press release. Also, listen to an interview with the author.