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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Chapter in the Nature/Nurture debate.
What makes us who we are? Is everything predetermined by our genes or does upbringing and environment have the major role?

In recent years the pedulum has swung from belief that upbringing had most impact on personality to genetics. Reading the popular press you could be forgiven for thinking that there is a gene for everything from eye colour to athletic...
Published on 15 July 2012 by Rose

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of twins
Tim Spector knows a lot about twins, and uses various twin stories to show how people with identical genes can turn out differently. We don't ever really get to be told why this is (the 'methylation of the gene' and 'epigenetic change' is used to explain virtually every phenomenon described!).

Still the twin stories are fascinating and I think he does...
Published 17 months ago by M. D. Holley


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Chapter in the Nature/Nurture debate., 15 July 2012
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This review is from: Identically Different: Why You Can Change Your Genes (Hardcover)
What makes us who we are? Is everything predetermined by our genes or does upbringing and environment have the major role?

In recent years the pedulum has swung from belief that upbringing had most impact on personality to genetics. Reading the popular press you could be forgiven for thinking that there is a gene for everything from eye colour to athletic ability not to mention homosexuality or criminal tendencies. Someone even tried to use genetics as a defence in a criminal court (unsuccessfully).

Until recently Tim Spector was, in his words, "one of the many scientists who took the gene-centric view of the universe for granted...But I had a nagging doubt that we were missing something." This book explains in a very readable way just what that "something" was.

Years of work with twins, particularly identical twins has provided evidence that things are more complicated that the straightforward choice between nature and nurture. So much so that that debate becomes almost irrelevant.
The book is very easy to read, full of fascinating twin case studies and amusing references to modern popular culture. Although it explains the science well it is nothing like a textbook so suitable for anyone interested in the topic.

There's a lot of thought provoking information here especially about plastics, IVF and probiotic yoghurts. If you were dreading the future of Genetic testing dicating access to everything from insurance to jobs, you can probably relax. We may have half the number of genes than a tomato but we humans are still too complex to be completely predictable. The scientists have a lot more work to do.

An informative and enjoyable read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most interesting original book about genetics this century, 17 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Identically Different: Why You Can Change Your Genes (Hardcover)
Exploring how genes can be switched off or otherwise altered by stuff that happens to us, sometimes in ways that can be passed on to our kids is fascinating enough but having the real cases and ideas pinned down and brought to life with studies of real identical twins makes this amazing!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every parent should read this., 31 May 2013
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I like its dispatch of the myths of human disease and the updated view of medical treatments. Having suffered from the nature-nurture strait jacket of genetics, I found this book a revelation. It is worth the reading to understand that nurture has a major impact on our genes. Every parent should read this if they want save their children from future disasters.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Identically Different .. But Brilliant!, 24 Oct 2012
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MILLICENT STONE (NEW YORK, NEW YORK, US) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Identically Different: Why You Can Change Your Genes (Hardcover)
Spector gripped me from Page 1 with his whistle stop tour of genetics for the 21st century. He relates his topics to the real world. If you've ever wondered why you're a happy chappy and your neighbour isn't yet you both live on the same street Spector offers an informed insight!
He turns genetics on its head with his passion for the subject, wealth of knowldege and understanding of the topic. His easy prose and witty style will bring a smile to your face as you read. Not to mention how his little gems make great conversation!! This book was my read of the summer. I've already bought it for three people as a gift and they loved it too. No matter who you are young or old, scientist or lay person you will love this book!! A perfect stocking filler for my Christmas list...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Most enlightening, 31 Mar 2014
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An excellent book if you are interested in twins and genetics. The heresy of Lamarkism is now alive and well, and the epigenetics element explains much of the heretofor obscure happenings in heredity. Well written and illustrated with examples easily understood by the lay person. I have lent it out and fear it may not return.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Epigenetics, 18 Oct 2013
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This is a clear exposition of the growing science of epigenetics. I was taught that our genes formed everything about us and our genome was fixed. It appears that our genes can be switched on and off altering our physical state and possibly personality. Epigenetics studies this phenomenon and has potential to alter our thinking about ageing and the treatment of certain disorders. The author is an expert on identical twins and how they differ often with surprising results. The book is not too technical and maintains interest throughout.
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5.0 out of 5 stars accessible, 14 Aug 2013
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I have only just started reading the book, however, it is very well written and easy to understand. There is not lots of professional speak and more difficult concepts are clearly and simply explained. I look forward to reading more!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 29 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Identically Different: Why You Can Change Your Genes (Hardcover)
Fascinating, absolutely loved it, really interesting and easy to read, much better than most books on this topic, which tend to be overcomplicated and stuffy!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 3 July 2012
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This review is from: Identically Different: Why You Can Change Your Genes (Hardcover)
This book is a must read even if you are not very sciencey. it is very informative on the topic of epigenetics and has many interesting examples in which to support the argument.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of twins, 29 Jan 2013
By 
M. D. Holley (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Identically Different: Why You Can Change Your Genes (Hardcover)
Tim Spector knows a lot about twins, and uses various twin stories to show how people with identical genes can turn out differently. We don't ever really get to be told why this is (the 'methylation of the gene' and 'epigenetic change' is used to explain virtually every phenomenon described!).

Still the twin stories are fascinating and I think he does demonstrate that we need to change our view of the way genes work.

So overall quite enjoyable, if a little hum drum and unspectacular.

Unfortunately there was one chapter (the talent gene) where the author seems to lose the plot completely (this chapter did not even harmonise with the rest of the book so I wondered whether some mischievous enemy had inserted it to spoil things). In this chapter Spector (if it was him) also shatters our confidence in his writing by asserting that Mozart wrote 9 (sic) violin concertos. Hmmm. By the age of 21. Hmmm again. As this shaky chapter was very early on it was a bit difficult to get going again.
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Identically Different: Why You Can Change Your Genes
Identically Different: Why You Can Change Your Genes by Tim Spector (Hardcover - 21 Jun 2012)
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