14 Best Genetics Books Update 05/2022

Best Genetics Books

The 25th of April is National DNA Day! While I lack competence and experience in science and health, DNA and genetics have always piqued my interest. And, happily, there are a plethora of excellent books that tell interesting stories while also breaking DNA down into simple chunks (Ts, As, Cs, and Gs) that non-experts can understand. More current news reports will detail how CRISPR gene-editing technology has been applied to the development of Covid-19 tests and vaccinations.

The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee

The Gene An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee

The author traces the author’s family experiences with mental illness and the contributions of key scientists and philosophers to present a history of gene science that examines current debates about gene resequencing, tracing the author’s family experiences with mental illness and the contributions of key scientists and philosophers. The Emperor of All Maladies, Mukherjee’s other (amazing) book, concentrates on cancer but also looks into the development of gene therapy as a possible solution. Adam Rutherford’s A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived A science journalist and presenter with a genetics background explains what our DNA can teach us about history and how the human genome has destroyed long-held ideas about our ancestors and identity. Jessica Wapner’s book The Philadelphia Chromosome: A Mutant Gene and the Search for a Genetic Cure for Cancer Discusses the history of a genetic mutation that causes chronic myeloid leukemia, which was found in 1959, and the research and achievements that led to the development of a medicine that has made this once-fatal sickness manageable.

The Social Life of DNA by Alondra Nelson

Genetic genealogy is a new technique for tackling long-standing racial issues. This book explains how cutting-edge DNA-based techniques are being used in a variety of ways, including to address the unfinished business of slavery: to foster reconciliation, establish ties with African ancestral homelands, rethink and sometimes alter citizenship, and make legal claims for slavery reparations based on ancestry.

The Violinist’s Thumb by Sam Kean

Genes can explain why JFK’s complexion was bronze, Einstein was a genius, and people with great thumb flexibility can become world-class violinists, according to an investigation of human DNA and the stories it can tell.

Kean’s lively narration brings science to life once more, illuminating human history and whimsy while demonstrating how DNA will affect our species’ destiny.

One in a Billion by Mark Johnson and Kathleen Gallagher

The scientific achievements surrounding a Wisconsin teen whose mystery sickness was treated through extraordinary genome sequencing are chronicled in a full-length medical narrative by two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists.

The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race by Walter Isaacson

The Code Breaker Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race by Walter Isaacson

The impact of James Watson’s The Double Helix on her career and how her team’s invention of CRISPR technology enabled breakthrough DNA-editing approaches to battling disease are explored in this portrayal of the Nobel Prize-winning scientist.

Gene Machine by VenkiRamakrishnan

DNA is a term that everyone is familiar with. However, DNA is merely a dormant blueprint for life. The ribosome—a massive molecular machine made up of a million atoms—is responsible for bringing DNA to life, converting our genetic code into proteins, and therefore becoming humans. This is an insider’s story of the race to figure out the structure of the ribosome, a crucial finding that increases our understanding of all life and may lead to the development of new antibiotics to combat life-threatening diseases.

Inside the Cell: The Dark Side of Forensic DNA by Erin E. Murphy

We imagine DNA forensics as an infallible science that finds bad guys and clears innocent people. When science goes feral, though, it can result in a heinous miscarriage of justice. Erin Murphy exposes the dark side of forensic DNA testing, including crime labs with little oversight and inconsistent results, prosecutors who push for smaller, lower-quality samples, which invite error and bias, law enforcement officers who compile massive, unregulated, and racially skewed DNA databases, and industry lobbyists who push for “stop and spit” policies.

The Language of Life by Francis S. Collins

Collins provides cutting-edge science to lay people who want to be in charge of their own health. He talks about cancer, obesity, aging, racial differences, and a slew of other issues, as well as the medical advancements that the Human Genome Project is directly responsible for. He’s also not afraid to tackle big political issues: he criticizes our current health-care system, examines stem-cell research, and recommends—with caveats—direct-to-consumer DNA testing in a lucid essay. He does an excellent job at bringing a complex scientific and medical subject to life.

DNA: The Story of the Genetic Revolution by James D. Watson

DNA The Story of the Genetic Revolution by James D. Watson


From the discovery of the double helix to today’s conflicts to what the future may hold, the Nobel laureate whose pioneering work helped unveil the enigma of DNA’s structure recounts the greatest scientific adventure of our time. New results in gene editing, epigenetics, agricultural chemistry, and two whole new chapters on personal genomics and cancer research have been included in this edition.

The Making of the Fittest by Sean B. Carroll

A geneticist explains how DNA analysis shows a complete record of the events that have shaped each species and how it provides support of the theory of evolution’s validity.

FICTION: Blood World by Chris Mooney

An LAPD officer fighting the activities of illicit blood farms is opposed against a maniac who has mutated healing blood to uncontrollable levels in a world where persons with a rare gene are kidnapped for their blood’s wonder-cure qualities.

FICTION:Genesis by Robin Cook

Genesis by Robin Cook

Chief New York City Medical Examiner Laurie Montgomery takes the contentious decision to employ genealogic DNA databases to identify a mysterious perpetrator while investigating the suspicious death of a social worker.

FICTION:Dahlia Black by Keith Thomas

A gripping oral history honoring the five-year anniversary of the Pulse—the extraterrestrial code that hacked the DNA of Earth’s population—and the response team who faced the world-changing phenomena for lovers of World War Z and the Southern Reach Trilogy.

And, lest you think we’d forgotten about it, here’s a bonus title!

FICTION:Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

A breakthrough has been made in the recovery and cloning of dinosaur DNA. The most exhilarating fantasies of humanity have now come true. Extinct dinosaurs inhabit Jurassic Park with their magnificent presence and unfathomable mystery, and visitors from all over the world can pay a fee to see them. Until something goes horribly wrong…

Do you have difficulty reading normal print? Many of these publications are accessible in other forms for patrons who are unable to read print.

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