Human Genetics: The Basics: 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Human Genetics: The Basics

2nd Edition

By Ricki Lewis

Garland Science

192 pages

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pub: 2016-12-14
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Human genetics has blossomed from an obscure biological science and explanation for rare disorders to a field that is profoundly altering health care for everyone. This thoroughly updated new edition of Human Genetics: The Basics provides a concise background of gene structure and function through the lens of real examples, from families living with inherited diseases to population-wide efforts in which millions of average people are learning about their genetic selves. The book raises compelling issues concerning:

• The role of genes in maintaining health and explaining sickness

• Genetic testing, gene therapy, and genome editing

• The common ancestry of all humanity and how we are affecting our future.

Written in an engaging, narrative manner, this concise introduction is an ideal starting point for anyone who wants to know more about genes, DNA, genomes, and the genetic ties that bind us all.


"A fascinating and informative introduction to the topic of human genetics. This excellent book would be suitable for anyone wishing to obtain a better understanding of genetic topics, especially those related to human health and disease." Elaine Hemers, Liverpool John Moores University, UK

The second edition of this excellent book gives a comprehensive overview of the expanding field of human genetics. Easy to read and illustrated with real life examples the book is enjoyable to read for everyone interested in human genetics, both lay persons and professionals. Katarina Pelin, University of Helsinki, Finland

Table of Contents

List of Figures & Tables



Chapter 1. From Mendel’s Peas to Double Helices

From Genes to Genomes

Agriculture is Applied Genetics

Mendel’s Experiments —The Mystery of the Missing Traits

The Chromosome Connection

In Pursuit of the Genetic Material

Chapter 2. How Genes Work

A Brief History of CF

Mikayla’s Story

The Individual Level: Tissues and Organs

The Family Level

The Population

Chapter 3. Genes and Health

A Genomic View of Health

Causes of Death – An Organizing Framework

Cancer: The Cell Cycle Out of Control

The Microbiome and Infectious Disease

Chapter 4. Genetic Testing

The First Generation of Genetic Tests: Proteins

The Second Generation of Genetic Tests: DNA

The Third Generation of Genetic Tests: Exomes and Genomes

Chapter 5. Gene Therapy and Genome Editing

Protein Therapy Came First

Gene Therapy

Gene and Genome Editing

Chapter 6. From Ancestry to Destiny

DNA as Clock and Compass

The First Hominins

DNA Evidence Overlaps Fossil Evidence

Expansion Out of Africa

From Archaic Humans to Modern Humans

Into Europe

Genetic Genealogy and Ancestry Testing

The Future: Will Humanity Homogenize or Diverge?




About the Author

Ricki Lewis is Adjunct Professor of Medical Education at Alden March Bioethics Institute, Albany Medical Center, US. She has a PhD in Genetics, writes the DNA Science blog at the Public Library of Science, is a genetic counsellor, and is the author of several popular titles.

About the Series

The Basics

The Basics is a highly successful series of accessible guidebooks which provide an overview of the fundamental principles of a subject area in a jargon-free and undaunting format.

Intended for students approaching a subject for the first time, the books both introduce the essentials of a subject and provide an ideal springboard for further study. With over 50 titles spanning subjects from Artificial Intelligence to Women’s Studies, The Basics are an ideal starting point for students seeking to understand a subject area.

Each text comes with recommendations for further study and gradually introduces the complexities and nuances within a subject.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Genetics & Genomics
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / General