Herding Hemingway's Cats

  • by Kat Arney
  • Narrated by Kat Arney
  • 8 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The language of genes has become common parlance. We know they make your eyes blue, your hair curly, or your nose straight. The media tells us that our genes control the risk of cancer, heart disease, alcoholism, or Alzheimer's. The cost of DNA sequencing has plummeted from billions of dollars to a few hundred, and gene-based advances in medicine hold huge promise.
So we've all heard of genes, but how do they actually work? According to legend, Ernest Hemingway was once given a six-toed cat by an old sea captain, and her distinctive descendants still roam the writer's Florida estate today. Scientists now know that the fault driving this profusion of digits lies in a tiny genetic control switch, miles away (in molecular terms) from the gene that "makes" toes. And it's the same mistake that gives rise to multi-toed humans too. There are 2.2 meters of DNA inside every one of your cells, encoding roughly 20,000 genes. These are the "recipes" that tell our cells how to make the building blocks of life, along with myriad control switches ensuring they're turned on and off at the right time and in the right place. But rather than a static string of genetic code, this is a dynamic, writhing biological library. And figuring out how it all works - how your genes make you, you - is a major challenge for researchers around the world. Drawing on stories ranging from six-toed cats and stickleback hips to wobbly worms and zombie genes, geneticist Kat Arney explores the how our genes work, creating a companion to the book of life itself.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Very good

Great overview of basic genetic concepts, would recommend to all university students studying the subject. Only issue was the author attempting the voices of the people she interviewed, accents and all. It made it a bit difficult to listen to in places but on the whole it was excellent.
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- Hannah Stephenson

A non-scientists misguided interpretation

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

People who want outdated information, who don't mind the unnecessary use of 5-dollar words to explain what many other truly intelligent authors have given us. She revels in her trips to talk to to famous researchers, her descriptive passages are cloyingly engulfed with the cocky pride of her accomplishments. Pass the barf bag.

Did Kat Arney do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

No characters - it's NONFICTION

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Anger. Disappointment. Disgust. I literally batted my iPhone across the room in disgust (I have a great case - no worries). Total waste of money.

Any additional comments?

The author needs to know that her works is outdated and provides much incorrect information. I literally had JUST finished another book about genes written by an actual doctor in the midst of genetic research. Thought this book would be a great followup to that. I was wrong.

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- Loriel13

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-14-2016
  • Publisher: Audible Studios for Bloomsbury