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Short Guide to the Human Genome

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanMay 29, 2008 5:43 PM


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Just got a copy of Short Guide to the Human Genome, put out by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. It's a fun little review; appropriate for browsing during your "in-between" time. As the title emphasizes this guide is characterized by extreme brevity, under 200 pages. Nevertheless it attempts a survey of the major results which have come to light over the past decade in human genomics. This isn't really a primer, it assumes you know what UTR stands for and why spliceosomes are important. In other words, return on investment is probably only there if you are reasonably familiar with the basics of molecular genetic terminology so that you don't always have to keep running for references. The guide is divided into broad thematic sections, for example, "RNA" or "comparative genomics." Within these chapters are compact sections with headings in the form of aquestion. After some short introductory exposition (usually a sentence or two), you are presented with a table or chart which summarizes the main finding, followed by further clarifying exposition. Methods and data sources are always appended, and quite frequently you'll also find a citation to papers which cover the topic being addressed. The author notes that this book was written as an extended response to the most common questions asked about the human genome, so don't be surprised if you stumble upon something you might have wondered about but never followed up.

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