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The Language of the Genes

From Publishers Weekly The author examines genetics, its benefits and its potential dangers.  Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Library Journal Witty and erudite, but a little unfocused, this title is as much about anthropology and (pre) history as genetics. Jones has produced a thought-provoking and free-wheeling book for the nonspecialist that touches on the genetics of languages, the role of sexual reproduction in genetic mutations, the evolution of farming, and the relationship of surnames to gene pools in various populations. The wide variety of topics considered is refreshing, as is the worldwide focus, but readers looking for a quick overview of genetics should look elsewhere (e.g., Robert Pollack, Signs of Life: The Language of DNA, LJ 1/94). Periodically, the author interjects purely speculative comments, but in general the lessons and conclusions of this book are complex and suitably low-key, given the rapid pace of change in molecular biology today and the difficulty of foreseeing all the future implications of these changes. Not an absolutely essential purchase, but an interesting one. Mary Chitty, Cambridge Healthtech, Waltham, Mass. Jones is sensitive to the social issues raised by genetics, yet his interest reaches beyond contemporary social issues to the human past, to what genetics can and cannot tell us about our evolution and patterns of social development. He interleaves a broad knowledge of biology with considerations of cultural, demographic and — as his title indicates — linguistic history. Jones's book is at once instructive and captivating. DANIEL J. KEVLES, London Review of Books Trenchant, witty and enlightening… Jones's literate and wide-ranging book is an essential sightseer's guide to our own genetic terrain. PETER TALLACK, Sunday Telegraph This brilliant and witty book… is highly literate, and Jones goes a long way to bridging the deepening chasm between the two cultures. Not to know how genes affect us is to ignore a central factor in our lives. WINNER OF THE YORKSHIR POST BEST FIRST BOOK AWARD
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