The Compatibility Gene Hardcover – 29 Aug 2013
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Who am I? What makes me different from everyone else? Daniel Davis recounts the remarkable science that has answered one version of these questions. He makes immunology as fascinating to popular science readers as cosmology, consciousness, and evolution (Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and the author of 'How the Mind Works' and 'The Better Angels of Our Nature')
There aren't many stories of scientific endeavour that have never been told. This is one of them. Ostensibly about a set of genes that we all have and need, this book is really about the men and women who discovered them and worked out what they do. It's about brilliant insights and lucky guesses; the glory of being proved right and the paralysing fear of getting it wrong; the passion for cures and the lust for Nobels. It's a search for the essence of scientific greatness by a scientist who is headed that way himself (Armand Marie Leroi, author of 'Mutants')
Genes help make us what we are, but in the often overstated claims of what DNA can actually say one crucial section of the double helix has largely been ignored. This book fills that gap. The genes behind our system of diversity code for the clues that control tissue transplants, responses to infection and even sexual success. They are complex indeed but the Compatibility Gene cuts through the complexity to reveal the startling truth about perhaps the most important section of the molecule that defines what it means to be human (Steve Jones, author of 'Almost Like A Whale')
Davis weaves a warm biographical thread through his tale of scientific discovery, revealing the drive and passion of those in the vanguard of research ... unusual results, astonishing implications and ethical dilemmas (The Times)
Davis makes the twists and turns all count (Guardian)
Davis ranges energetically through the research. Cultural references and anecdotes abound (Nature)
A fascinating, expertly told story (Michael Brooks New Statesman)
The genes that make you a true individual ... Davis provides a well-written and easy-to-read account of the sometimes complicated biology behind the crucial genes that affect our lives so profoundly (New Scientist)
Wonderful pen-portraits of the many scientists involved in this fast-moving field ... 5 out of 5 stars (Henry Gee BBC Focus magazine)
Dr. Davis's readable and informative book takes the reader into unexpectedly interesting corners of both the immune system and the lives of immunologists. It is packed with an insider's knowledge - not just of the field, but of where its bodies are buried (Nicholas Wade New York Times)
An elegantly written, unexpectedly gripping account of how scientists painstakingly unravelled the way in which a small group of genes ... crucially influence, and unexpectedly interconnect, various aspects of our lives... Lab work has rarely been made to seem more interesting or heroic (Bill Bryson Guardian, Books of the Year 2013)
About the Author
Daniel M. Davis is director of research at the University of Manchester's Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research and a visiting professor at Imperial College, London. He has published over 100 academic papers, including papers in Nature and Science, and Scientific American, and lectures all over the world, including at the Royal Institution. He has previously won the Oxford University Press Science Writing Prize, and has given numerous interviews for national and international media, including the Times, Guardian, Metro, and National Public Radio (USA). A major feature on his research was published in The Times. Experiments filmed in his laboratory were shown in the BBC series 'The History of Medicine' (2008). He also keenly engages in broad scientific affairs, recently publishing a view on UK science funding policies in Nature.
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Top Customer Reviews
As an aspiring immunologist, this book provides an excellent history of a constantly revolving subject and the thing which surprised me is how recent all the tales were, often meaning Davis had had personal encounters with the person in question, which provides a really unique and personal touch. Another thing I found Davis did really well was incorporating his own research without it feeling like an advertisement for himself or his lab; it just feels relevant. The information is presented in a humbling manor, despite the fact some of his research has been extremely important to the immunology community. This also gives his opinions a certain punch, with the feeling like the words are really from someone in the know!
Overall, I would highly recommend The Compatibility Gene to anyone with an interest in science and biology, particularly immunology. I feel it is an especially useful read for someone at the beginning of a career in science, although I imagine that there is also new information for someone well established. An excellent, motivating read.
Unexpectedly, what I found myself reading was a book about the history of immunology, right back to when doctors were attempting skin grafts and didnt understand why transplanted skin kept getting destroyed. It turns out a small set of genes, called compatibilty genes, determine whose organs can be successfully transplanted into which patients.
The role for these genes doesnt stop there, however: they influence what diseases we're more or less susceptible to, and are connected with various other internal processes, outlined in the book.
Read this if you've a curious mind and want to understand a hidden gem of a field (immunology), which will inform how you think about human evolution, genes, disease and scientific progress in general.
I started a sceptic and finished a fan.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I very much enjoyed reading The Compatibility Gene, a real page-turner!
A truly inspirational book, both for biologists and non-scientists!
This is a brilliant book. It is extremely well written and covers important and exciting concepts in immunology. It is suitable for the interested adult or young person. Read morePublished 5 months ago by R
An inspiring read, very readable and written in a format accessible to both scientists and non-scientists alike..a very good read!Published 5 months ago by mr daniel Friedman
an absolutely compelling read and has won many awards. This is one of the best science books out there in the last few years, and a must for anyone who wants to learn about the... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Andrew
As a researcher new to the world of immunology, this book depicted the history of how we got to understand our immune system in a way that is easy to understand. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Elaine Leung
I highly recommend this book. In addition to providing a compelling historical perspective into many immunological discoveries important to our understanding of the MHC genes, this... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Setareh Chong
The Compatibility Gene by Prof. Davis is a fascinating read. The discovery of the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) unravelled the complexities of transplantation and the... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Tracy Hussell
A fantastic account of the trials and tribulations of immunologists on the hunt to understand the genes that control compatibility. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Jonathan
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