Genetic Twists of Fate

MIT Press
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How tiny variations in our personal DNA can determine how we look, how we behave, how we get sick, and how we get well.

News stories report almost daily on the remarkable progress scientists are making in unraveling the genetic basis of disease and behavior. Meanwhile, new technologies are rapidly reducing the cost of reading someone's personal DNA (all six billion letters of it). Within the next ten years, hospitals may present parents with their newborn's complete DNA code along with her footprints and APGAR score. In Genetic Twists of Fate, distinguished geneticists Stanley Fields and Mark Johnston help us make sense of the genetic revolution that is upon us.

Fields and Johnston tell real life stories that hinge on the inheritance of one tiny change rather than another in an individual's DNA: a mother wrongly accused of poisoning her young son when the true killer was a genetic disorder; the screen siren who could no longer remember her lines because of Alzheimer's disease; and the president who was treated with rat poison to prevent another heart attack. In an engaging and accessible style, Fields and Johnston explain what our personal DNA code is, how a few differences in its long list of DNA letters makes each of us unique, and how that code influences our appearance, our behavior, and our risk for such common diseases as diabetes or cancer.

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About the author

Stanley Fields is Professor of Genome Sciences and Medicine at the University of Washington and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

Mark Johnston is Professor and Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Genetics.

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Additional Information

Publisher
MIT Press
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Published on
Sep 24, 2010
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9780262289009
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Language
English
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Genres
Medical / Genetics
Science / Life Sciences / Genetics & Genomics
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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In Whispering Death, Mark Johnston, one of Australia's leading experts on World War II, explains vividly how more than 130,000 Australian airmen fought Japan from the Pacific War's first hours in 1941 to its last in 1945. They clashed over a vast area, from India to Noumea, Bass Strait to the Philippines. Merely flying over that region's boundless oceans and wild weather was dangerous enough for Australia's fliers, but their formidable enemies made it much more perilous. In their Zero fighters and Betty bombers they were initially too numerous, experienced and well-armed for the few Australians who opposed them in Malaya, the Northern Territory and New Guinea.

February 1942 brought the RAAF its darkest hour: the bombing of Darwin, which no Australian fighter planes contested. But in the months following, Australian aircrew won or contributed to great aerial victories in the air over Port Moresby, Milne Bay, the Papuan beachheads and the Bismarck Sea. The American air force grew to dominate both the Japanese and their Australian ally, but until war's end Australian aircrew continued to battle in Pacific skies, and to die in flaming aircraft or at the hands of vindictive captors. Some pilots, such as aces Clive 'Killer' Caldwell and Keith 'Bluey' Truscott became household names. Certain Australian aircraft caught the public imagination too: the Kittyhawk, the Spitfire and the plane dubbed 'Whispering Death' for its eviscerating firepower and deceptively quiet engines - the Beaufighter.

Australia's flight to victory was never smooth, thanks to internal squabbling at the RAAF's highest levels and a difficult relationship with the allies on whom Australia depended for aircraft and leadership. So controversial were the RAAF's final operations that some of its most prominent pilots mutinied. Based on thousands of official and private documents, Whispering Death makes for compelling reading.
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