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Introduction to Review of Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

Reviewed by
Kevin Davies, Ph.D.
James J. Ferguson, Jr., M.D.

Book Reviews

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Review by James J. Ferguson, Jr., M.D.
Counterpoint review by Kevin Davies, Ph.D.
In the June 30th edition of the Genome News Network (GNN), we published James J. Ferguson, Jr.'s review of Matt Ridley's new book, Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters. Ferguson, an M.D., is professor emeritus of medicine and biochemistry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. His opinion of Genome ranges from modest enthusiasm to basic skepticism. "His [Ridley's] recurring mantra is: 'Genes are not there to cause disease,'" notes Ferguson, and he continues, "But who would/could claim such, even though the target of localizing disease-causing genes constituted a large part of the motivation which prompted the undertaking of the Human Genome Project?"

On the other hand, Kevin Davies, Ph.D., thinks that Genome is terrific. Davies, executive editor of the journal Current Biology, is co-author of Breakthrough. In a review of Genome, which GNN reprints here from the magazine Prospect, Davies says the book "offers one of the most insightful and lively accounts of what we are learning, and might find out in the future, about the book of man."

GNN welcomes reader replies to what we publish and is pleased to offer Ferguson's and Davies' reviews as a point-counterpoint of a new book that has received considerable public attention.

—Barbara J. Culliton

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