WHAT IS GENETICS by Jerry & Sandy Bornstein Bornstein


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A basic introduction, beginning (after a review of ancient theories) with Mendel, explaining cell division, evolution, and (briefly) DNA, and ending about where contemporary issue-oriented treatments begin. The Bornsteins (she a geneticist, he a journalist) do an admirable job of explaining long-established concepts and the subtleties involved. (Mendel's laws, while ""earthshaking contributions,"" must be seen as ""simplified models of a complicated reality""; the belief that hemophilia never occurs in females is exposed as ""another one of those half-truths which obscure how heredity works""; and ""It is important to keep in mind that natural selection acts on phenotypes, not genotypes."") On the issues of genetics and intelligence and especially genetics and race, they are less impressive, putting forth the enlightened position quite vehemently but without the rigor that might convince the unenlightened. And they barely touch on genetic engineering. However, their earlier grounding should prove ultimately more valuable than such fashionable but superficial discussions of sophisticated issues as Engdahl and Roberson's Tool for Tomorrow (p. 333, J-87).

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1979
Publisher: Messner