Genomics: A Revolution in Health and Disease Discovery
Authors Whitney Stewart and Hans Andersson, MD, present fascinating case studies that show how real people have benefitted from genetic research. Though the genome remains full of mysteries, researchers and doctors are working hard to uncover its secrets and find the best ways to treat patients and cure diseases.
Genomics: A Revolution in Health and Disease Discovery delves into the history, science, and ethics behind recent breakthroughs in genetic research. Authors Whitney Stewart and Hans Andersson, MD, present fascinating case studies that show how real people have benefitted from genetic research. Though the genome remains full of mysteries, researchers and doctors are working hard to uncover its secrets and find the best ways to treat patients and cure diseases. The discoveries to come will inform how we target disease treatment, how we understand our health, and how we define our very identities.
About the Co-Author
Hans C. Andersson, MD, is the Karen Gore Chair of Human Genetics and director of the Hayward Genetics Center at the Tulane University Medical School, where he directs the Biochemical Genetics Lab. Following fellowship training in clinical genetics and cell biology at the National Institutes of Health and University of Gottingen, Germany, Andersson achieved American Board of Medical Genetics certification in clinical genetics and clinical biochemical/molecular genetics and American Board of Pediatrics certification in pediatrics. His research has elucidated clinical features and pathophysiology of inherited metabolic genetic disorders, especially in lysosomal storage disorders. He leads the major regional referral center for such diseases in the Gulf South and is a member of the board for the International Collaborative Gaucher Group and a member of numerous national societies including the Society of Pediatric Research and the Society of Inherited Metabolic Diseases.
“A geneticist and an author for young people provide a genome primer for teens. In efficient, readable prose, this book walks readers through the history of humanity’s understanding and application of genetics to modern medicine. After contextualizing by using genomics to identify undiagnosed diseases, a foundational history lesson shows how genetic inheritance was theorized, described, and discovered (a process that started in 530 B.C.E.) and provides rundowns of basic genetic laws (with Punnett squares demonstrating dominant and recessive traits). A chapter on PKU (a disease that’s manageable through a special diet but causes lifelong intellectual disabilities if not caught early) walks readers through the early development of newborn screening, which grounds discussions of the nitty-gritty of DNA. Through sidebars and various perspectives, the authors’ multiple explanations and diagrams help to distill complicated information into easy-to-work-with concepts. Other chapters cover the development of medical DNA tests and commercial genetic testing (along with its limitations) before finally looking to the future potential of personalized genetic medicine. Every step of the way, ethical implications are tackled head-on―respect for members of the disability community is prioritized, eugenics is debunked and its application rightfully vilified, and discrimination on racial and transgender lines is confronted. This accessible introduction demystifies the complicated science. The authors strategically use scientific language and terminology paired with plainspoken explanations, and the colorful, varied physical layout enhances the reading experience. High-quality, curiosity-sparking brain fuel.” ― Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal:
★ STEWART, Whitney & Hans C. Andersson. Genomics: A Revolution in Health and Disease Discovery. 144p. Lerner/Twenty-First Century. Sept. 2020. Tr $37.32. ISBN 9781541500563.
Gr 8 Up–This unique look at the history and impact of genomics will excite students eager to learn more about the human genome. The text goes beyond buzzwords and popular science ideas to explore related key concepts, such as Sanger sequencing and gene therapy. Real cases are included and add depth by addressing the science behind genetic testing and the people directly impacted by it. The text clearly addresses the changing nature of scientific understanding for younger readers. Stewart and Andersson chronicle the natural progression of changes applied to academic beliefs about genes and the methodologies used to study them. Commendably, the authors discuss the accomplishments of overlooked researchers, the reality of patients with inherited disorders, and other ethical issues connected to the misapplications of gene-related studies. They are honest and respectful of readers’ intelligence in a way that is refreshing in an area of nonfiction that can sometimes be esoteric. VERDICT An excellent bridge between real-world technology applications of biotechnology and what students learn in their biology classrooms. — Lisa Bosarge, Enoch Pratt Free Lib., Baltimore
Genomics: A Revolution in Health and Disease Discovery. By Whitney Stewart and Hans C. Andersson, MD Sept. 2020. 144p. Lerner/Twenty-First Century, lib. ed., $37.32 (9781541500563). Gr. 9–12. 572.8
This informative book explores the role that genomics plays in health care. The history of genetics, the Human Genome Project, and the development of a standardized way to screen newborns for diseases are just a few of the topics covered. Real medical cases illustrate how individuals are diagnosed and treated using genetic sequencing. The text chronicles the explosion in (and pros and cons of) direct-to-consumer DNA testing kits as well as advancements in the field of gene therapy through the use of CRISPR and prime editing—and the risks of their unethical use. The difference between genetic correction and genetic enhancement is explained, and the stories of Caster Semenya, a woman Olympian with naturally high testosterone levels, and transgender people are used to illustrate discrimination against different people’s physiologies. A clear, understandable, and well-sourced look at how advances in genomic medicine alter the treatment of diseases, with thought-provoking ideas to consider regarding the ethics of human genetic modification. — Sharon Rawlins