Literature – DNA – The Secret of Life

Decided to get away from the mysteries and try some non-fiction. Just finished DNA – The Secret of Life by James Watson and Andrew Berry. Listening on Audible is great, but when I have a book like this that gets pretty deep into some topics – I really have to pay close attention or I have to rewind sections to hear them again.

In the book they focus on the strides made in genetic research in the 20th century, but they also hit some highlights from the 19th century and earlier. One this is for sure, the authors have strong opinions and let you know it. Some of the topics they covered were:

– strong opinions on Genetically Modified plants and animals. They feel worrying is stupid. we are just doing what nature does, just very accelerated. Also GM plants reduce need for pesticides. Which is worse for environment – the pesticide of the genetic manipulation?

– Patenting genes during the Human Genome Project is wrong. Science should share knowledge. Those that profict off of the work that they built their work upon is wrong. The authors gave examples of some folks who have done this.

– Something similar – scientist who profit from gene work

Another section that I found interesting was the influence of nature vs nuture on the personality traits of humans. The authors quoted a number of studies – most done with twins – have shown that nature (your genetic makeup) has a very strong influence on your personality. I have had nature vs nuture discussions in the past, but their discussion lays it out pretty clearly – Nature matures.

Bottom line – I enjoyed the book as a diversion from the mystery novels. It was enlightening, but not too deep.

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