February 18, 2010

The many uses of DNA

On February 17th, an article in the Globe & Mail reported that DNA evidence has shown that King Tutankhamen died of malaria and a possible infection from a fractured leg.

There are many uses for DNA, from mapping the human genome to genetic engineering. The following books help shed further light on its mysteries. 

National Geographic Investigates: Genetics: From DNA to Designer Dogs

Chapters: Ancient DNA, Genetic Science, Genes for Long Life, Fighting for Wildlife, Microbial DNA, Genetics and Cloning
An interesting, well-written book, with a nice, clear layout. Includes a list of further resources (books and websites) and full-colour photographs.

Kingfisher Knowledge Genes and DNA

Chapters: Genes and Inheritance, DNA: The Molecule of Life, Genetic Technology

Each chapter ends with a summary and a list of further resources. Also mentions possible careers. Well organized, with large, easy-to-read fonts, and lots of illustrations and photos.

Amazing DNA

Chapters: DNA is Everywhere, Building Bodies, Making Copies, From Plants to Proteins, How Genes Build Us, Mistakes: Bad & Good

This book is very easy to read and understand. Suitable for ages 8 - 11.

Chapters: The Master Molecule of Life, Genes & DNA, The Genetic Code, RNA & the Protein Factory, Making Use of DNA
A more scientific look at DNA, including a description of how DNA fingerprints are created. With clear diagrams and photographs, although the captions are too far away. For ages 10 and up.

For readers interested in how the structure of DNA was discovered, see Watson and Crick and DNA, by Christy Marx, and Double Helix: The Quest to Uncover the Structure of DNA, by Glen Phelan.

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