EXONS, INTRONS, AND TALKING GENES

THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE HUMAN GENOME PROJECT

Wills (Biology/Univ. of Cal. at San Diego) serves up a full platter in this insider's view of biology's ``Big Science'' project. While the subtitle suggests that his aim is to educate the reader about the science, he has a lot to say about the politics and personalities as well. The text begins with a vision of the brave new world ahead with its myriad genetic manipulations and therapies and their sociopolitical implications. Then it's on to the origins of the Human Genome Project. Wills credits Nobelist Renato Dulbecco with having proposed the concept. What got a reluctant biomedical community on board was a concatenation of events: News that the Department of Energy was moving full steam ahead on technology for DNA sequencing; Congressional prodding; conversion of a few key players; and appointment of James D. Watson himself to lead the effort for the National Institutes of Health. Wills does a fine job of putting the reader in the technological picture, including a marvelous tour ``through the genome with gun and camera'' in which even savvy readers may be startled to find how rapidly DNA is copied, moved to the cell body, and processed into proteins. Major milestones such as the discovery of the genes for muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis are described in detail, with no sparing of the inside dope on who did what to whom in the race to be first. In contrast to other recent historians of genome research, Wills makes it clear that all that so-called junk DNA between the ``exons'' that are the ``real'' genes may not be junk after all; indeed, the message is that nothing is as simple as it seemed at first. Final chapters deal with the challenges posed by cancer, schizophrenia, and the implications of finding genes related to talents/behavior/intelligence. Here, Wills can be faulted for too- summary a treatment of complex issues. Overall, though, a first- rate exposition by someone who must be a super teacher.

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 1991

ISBN: 0-465-02168-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1991

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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