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Human Genetics. Part A: The Unfolding Genome

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  • Book Review
  • Medicine
  • Philosophy


HUMAN GENETICS. PART A: THE UNFOLDING GENOME. Edited by Batsheva Bonne- Tamir. New York, Alan R. Liss, Inc., 1982. 528 pp. $88.00. HUMAN GENETICS. PART B: MEDICAL ASPECTS. Edited by Batsheva Bonne-Tamir. New York, Alan R. Liss, Inc., 1982. 619 pp. $98.00. This two-volume set includes the proceedings of the Sixth International Congress of Human Genetics, held in Jerusalem in 1981. The publication of this collection, representing guest lectures, two major plenary sessions, eighteen symposia, and twenty-two workshops is an ambitious undertaking, and the delay in publication is not surprising. Nevertheless, the amount of information presented here is pro- digious and impressive in its clarity and breadth. The contributors are world- recognized authorities who have condensed and summarized most of the major ad- vances in the science of human genetics since the previous conference in 1976. For the molecular geneticist, the review of human gene probes, mammalian gene structure, and DNA polymorphisms will be of interest. Information contained in papers published in the last two years can easily be grafted on to these fine sum- maries. There is much for those interested in population genetics. From Neel's data on polymorphisms in American Indian populations interspersed with his philosophy of population genetics to the entire section on twin studies, information abounds. The chapter entitled "Genetic Effects of Atomic Bombs" by Satoh, Awa, Neel, and others contains the most up-to-date information on the genetic effects of radiation exposure in humans. In addition to showing a greater human resistance to radiation damage than was previously estimated by extrapolation from mouse studies, the paper demonstrates the human ability of collaboration and learning that can follow a supreme human tragedy. The papers about genetic control of embryonic development could not have been written ten years ago, and will undergo great expansion in the next ten years. There are sixty pages devoted to gene mapping, includin

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