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My Beautiful Genome: Exposing Our Genetic Future, One Quirk at a Time [Kindle Edition]

Lone Frank
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Internationally acclaimed science writer Lone Frank swabs up her DNA to provide the first truly intimate account of the new science of consumer-led genomics. She challenges the business mavericks intent on mapping every baby's genome, ponders the consequences of biological fortune-telling, and prods the psychologists who hope to uncover just how much or how little our environment will matter in the new genetic century - a quest made all the more gripping as Frank considers her family's and her own struggles with depression.

Product Description


'My Beautiful Genome covers some of the most interesting controversies in biology today, including designer babies, brain imaging and even whether or not we have free will. It's an enthralling read.' --New Scientist

'A pin-sharp, lively memoir-cum-investigation... Frank's discoveries make for some truly tingling moments... Absorbing.' --Mail on Sunday

'The huge research effort to understand the complexity of the genome is throwing up new insights into the nature of humanity, as the Danish science writer Lone Frank shows in My Beautiful Genome, her excellent look into the postgenomic world.... Fascinating.' --Financial Times


“I haven’t seen Lone Frank’s entire genome, but it’s obvious from the first page of My Beautiful Genome that she’s got the SKFF2 gene (Sharp as a Knife and Friggin’ Funny, Too). No decoding needed here: I love this book.”

(Mary Roach)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 606 KB
  • Print Length: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (1 Sept. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005GOBKS6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #227,247 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Lone Frank holds a PhD in neurobiology and was previously a research scientist in the biotechnology industry. An award-winning science journalist and Danish TV presenter, she has written for such publications as Scientific American, Science, and Nature Biotechnology.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex subject, but a page turner - wonderful 8 Nov. 2011
By M. D. Holley TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This book asks more questions than it answers, because the science discussed here is so very young. Lone Frank does not try to over simplify or produce easy certainties. The world she describes is uncertain, full of contradictions, and not yet coherent. By interviewing many different researchers, we get an overview of various current schools of thought, rather than one narrow viewpoint.

Her stroke of genius is in the way she presents the material. She uses herself as a human guinea pig. Because of the way she gradually uncovers more of her own genome, the book operates on one level as kind of auto biography. That's what makes it such a page turner - as you get more and more hooked on Lone Frank's biographical story you really can't wait to find out what type of BRCA gene she has. And by making the subject so personal, she converts what could be a dry and dusty academic discussion of some quite complex science into a joyful read.

While much has yet to be worked out, several interesting and somewhat controversial conclusions come out along the way. Like the finding that different races of humans really are qualitatively different. That our society currently practices a form of eugenics, and most of us approve of it. That the genome is not completely stable, and can be influenced by its environment (epigenetics). That our free will is limited, but ironically we can maximise what free will we have by acknowledging the features that are pre determined by our genes.

Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I have to agree with Michael Shermer that this book is a genuine page-turner. It works very well as popular science and covers many of the topics general readers will want to see - getting your own genome interpreted, diseases, epigenetics, sexual attraction, abortion, personality, ethical problems, determinism, etc. Lone Frank even touches on the taboo topic of eugenics. Her journalist's easy and often humorous interview style, moving across continents and via Skype, brings the key scientists alive and she isn't at all shy of using vivifying personal disclosures of her own. The science and its applications have a long way to go but Frank shows a knack here for zooming in succinctly on the trends in genetic research that have begun to really count. Anyone interested in human development, identity, individual differences and personality traits should read it.
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By Raven
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book held my interest from start to finish. I love how the author makes her scientific research so intensely personal and intimate. I found her descriptions compelling, such as those of close family members, their personalities, behaviour and how they eventually died, her own clinical depression. So for me, the book bridged the gap between science and the soul searching question of "Why am I the way I am?" I will be reading more on epigenetics now that I've had this introduction. Also, I like that all the research is well referenced and the contributors acknowledged.

As for the author's style of writing, many people have said it's witty. Not me; I would only say it's dry, and a even bit moany in places ... though not enough to stop me turning the pages. And the author's second-language use of English was obvious to me at times, making some sentences sound a bit "clunky" to my ear.

Apart from minor taste issues, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about genetics and epigenetics, but doesn't want to wade through anything too science-heavy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great but.. 13 Jan. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ok, should you read this book? Yes, yes and yes. Is it my favourite book ever written on the subject? Not really. Does it broaden your horizons? Oh yes. Someone wrote in a review, it opens more questions than it answers, which is completely true, but it does so beautifully. You can just start from this book and by the end of it you want to sign up for a degree at Open University or read every copy of Nature you can get hold of. Beware though, the author is irritating. You can't sort of fault the bad bits and only take the good ones, they are like her genome, they are whole. Take it or leave it and I'd say take it. The writer gives you a glimpse on stuff about her that you really do not care or want to know, without making a call for empathy and telling you her story so you might actually understand her or start to like her.

But apart from that, recommended :).
Are you keen on the subject? Read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Iva
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was glad to discover this book. I'm not so familiar with genetics but I easily understand every explanation Lone Frank gave. Highly recommend this book for any scientific minds
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good for non-academics 25 Oct. 2011
By sanyata
this book is unique in the way that the author uses herself as a prop to go through various genetic tests and then discusses the results with pros.

as such its a gonzo type intro on genetics and a counterweight to the many books that offer a bird's eye view of the field. so good for non-academics
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5.0 out of 5 stars An honest account of personal genetic analysis 31 Dec. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The author walks us gently through the required subject matter of genetics and genetic analysis, and examines whether genetic analysis is useful or not. Using her own genetic analysis as a starting point she explores what it has meant to her and her family. She also compares how the major providers of personal genome analysis give you your results and how easy it was to deal with them, as well as how much they charge for the service.

The results for certain disorders are given in the form of probabilities. The best companies provide help with understanding the results, or will test for more disorders. Typically, those disorders where a single gene is responsible gave the most certain results.

There was no commercial company currently conducting expression analysis of a persons genome, which is probably going to be needed before most of this information is going to be useful: the environment affects the genes which affects our phenotype (the outcome - whether we get the disease or not and how severe). This kind of analysis is on the horizon but not here yet. Gene expression analysis will possibly allow us to choose to adapt our lifestyles, ie environment, to suit our genomes sensitivities. The author says most people who get their results do not make changes in their lifestyle choices. This is a little disappointing, but I feel if there were more certainty about the results or what the results of the environmental changes would be people would feel more that they can make a difference.

I enjoyed the book because it taught me what is out there. However, just because I didn't like the fact that what I think is needed is not yet commercially available did not mean I did not value the information I got from the book.
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