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I thought that this was a very good book on genetics and how this field of science is being applied in the real world. The material is presented in a way that the average listener can understand and grasp. The delivery of the lectures are very well done. You will learn the basics about genetics and develop a working vocabulary. The author and in this case the professor / narrator starts each lecture with a very interesting story that sets the stage for the content of the lecture. If you have any interest in learning the basics about genetics, then I highly recommend this audio book. The Great Courses usually do a great job at providing content. This is a good book for high school students or above. It is a very interesting and enjoyable course.
17 of 18 people found this review helpful
“ The DNA double helix, discovered in 1953, is one of the great icons of science in our society, rivaling the atom in its pervasiveness in our culture. ”
These 24 half hour lectures given by Professor David E. Sadava retired from Claremont McKenna College and City of Hope Medical Center in Duarte, California were very engaging and eye opening to me. I never attended college so this year as part of my audible membership I have decided to buy several of the Great Courses programs they offer. This was the first of my new subscription and I can tell I am already getting my credits worth!
Prof. Sadava explains DNA, genes and chromosomes so a layperson like me can understand them. He also helps us to understand how the knowledge of how they work will enrich life here on planet earth.
1 Our Inheritance
2 Mendel and Genes
3 Genes and Chromosomes
4 The Search for the Gene—DNA
5 DNA Structure and Replication
6 DNA Expression in Proteins
7 Genes, Enzymes, and Metabolism
8 From DNA to Protein
10 Manipulating Genes—Recombinant DNA
11 Isolating Genes and DNA
12 Biotechnology—Genetic Engineering
13 Biotechnology and the Environment
14 Manipulating DNA by PCR and Other Methods
15 DNA in Identification—Forensics
16 DNA and Evolution
17 DNA and Human Evolution
18 Molecular Medicine—Genetic Screening
19 Molecular Medicine—The Immune System
20 Molecular Medicine—Cancer
21 Molecular Medicine—Gene Therapy
22 Molecular Medicine—Cloning and Stem Cells
23 Genetics and Agriculture
24 Biotechnology and Agriculture
My favorite lectures were the medical ones where he explained the different ways genetics can help us either control diseases, eliminate diseases and cure disease. He also explained how many diseases are not caused by a single gene but by many so that it isn't as simple as replacing one gene and you are cured.
The PKU screening test done on all infants is a form of molecular dna testing. If your child tests positive you can keep the harmful effects in check by limiting protein in their food of a certain amino acid that builds up and could cause mental retardation. This test has been going on for at least 50 years.
Professor Sadava does warn of the careful testing that needs to be done before rushing a product to market. Let's say you create a wheat seed that grows faster and has additional fiber added into it's genetic structure. Sounds good, right? However, what if by doing this it creates an allergy in 50 per cent of the population to wheat? Then it's properties are no longer worthwhile or profitable. He used as an example a case of early gene therapy in a boy with cancer that they tried to change his cancer cells into healthy cells but instead of curing the boy the bodies white blood cells fought back and killed him because they could not recognize the new cells.
This is a great series of lectures given by an energetic and informative man for anyone interested in science and medicine. I know I learned a lot from it.
16 of 17 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
I've learned a lot from other Great Courses lectures so I was looking forward to this one. However, although the topics were well-structured and the concepts were well-explained, it was a bit basic. For example, epigenetics didn't even get a mention. Also, although the lecturer clearly knew his stuff, he was a bit pollyannaish about genetic technology. Overall, if you want a sound introduction with lots of real-world examples, these lectures will probably fit the bill. However, if you want something aimed at an intermediate level and with a bit of nuance, they probably aren't for you.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
very good finished it all. easily go back and relisten to chapters of interest. narrator had a good flow and tone of voice.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful