Dalwhinnie’s Micro Book Reviews – 1

Svante Pääbo is the world’s foremost genome researcher. He heads a team of people at the Department of Genetics at the Max Planck Institute who have sequenced the Neanderthal and Denisovan genome. His book, Neanderthal Man, In Search of Lost Genomes, is a genial and interesting account of his work, his rivalries, and the state of genomic research.

Take-aways:

  • Science is an intensely rivalrous business. Paabo is always on the lookout for ways to scoop his rivals, and they, him.
  • The “peer-review” process subjects one’s work  to carping, jealous, small minded individuals whose only goal is to disprove what you have shown. It is a miracle scientists do not kill each other.
  • Getting a team of scientists to work together is powerfully assisted by allowing them to get their names on the appropriate articles.
  • “The dirty little secret of genomics is that we still know next to nothing about how a genome translates into the particularities of a living and breathing individual” )at p.208

For more information on your genetic background, you should pop the US$200 and take the National Geographic’s genome test.  I did. Guess what? I am white. The tests say so.