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Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

by Matt Ridley
New York: Harper Perennial, 2006. 344 pages.

In his preface to Genome, Matt Ridley — the zoologist-turned-science-writer who wrote The Red Queen and The Origin of Virtue — describes the original plan for his book: "Why not try to tell the unfolding story of the human genome, now being discovered in detail for the first time, chromosome by chromosome, by picking a gene from each chromosome to fit the story as it is told?" And that is what precisely he did, in clear, instructive, and lively prose. James Watson praised Genome as "[a] lucid and exhilarating romp through our 23 human chromosomes that lets us see how nature and nurture combine to make us human."