terça-feira, 8 de setembro de 2009
About the gene: a seminal book
The Century of the Gene (Paperback)
by Evelyn Fox Keller
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Harvard University Press; Reprint edition (2 April 2002)
We've been under the spell of DNA for too long. Science historian and MacArthur Fellow Evelyn Fox Keller makes the case for radically new thinking about the nature of heredity in The Century of the Gene. This short, magisterial treatise examines over 100 years of genetic thinking and finds outdated elements of Victorian beliefs still permeating our scientific writing today. Despite compelling evidence that cytoplasmic and other non-chromosomal factors play important roles in development and even in the inheritance of traits, most discussion still relies on the master/slave (or manager/worker) relationship between the nucleus and the cell. Keller wants to move on; her proximate goal is to proceed from talking about genes to talking about genetic talk, the better to understand our biases. Her excitement at developments such as the Human Genome Project, despite her initial doubts, is only heightened by the prospect of vast new stretches of uncharted intellectual territory. Ultimately, of course, her programme matches that of the scientific enterprise--to more fully understand ourselves and our world. What comes after The Century of the Gene? An excellent question, and one that can only be answered once we leave the past's baggage behind. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"The Century of the Gene", by Evelyn Fox Keller, not only provides an insightful overview of the role of a gene in the creation of an organism but also traces the history of our perception of the gene's role in that creation...Keller provides several concise figures that allow a person with minimal knowledge of molecular biology to understand the basics of what a gene is and how it functions within the body. This book also captures past and present thought from critical scientists and philosophers who have contributed to our current understanding of molecular biology...[The] overall outlook provides a new understanding of the dynamics of gene regulation and predicts that a new era in which we can understand how to control our own evolution is approaching. From a research perspective, we hope to be able to use this knowledge to help correct medical disorders. However, from a moral and religious perspective, many new boundaries are being crossed. Read this book. You will challenge yourself in trying to figure out what the future will be. -- Dr. John J. Nemunaitis "Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings"
I am grateful to my friend and distinguished colleague Prof. Tim Ingold (University of Aberdeen, UK) who advised me about this book (and others - see other messages in this blog)