Reviewing “Genetics and Human Health”

Today’s Day 48 of the Coronavirus COVID-19 invasion of United States. Today, the Center for Disease Control recommended that events with over 50 people should be cancelled to prevent the spread of the virus. Schools and offices are closed and we’re to work and learn from home remotely. I had some time to read through the book “Genetics & Human Health” by Faith Hickman Byrnie by The Millbrook Press taken from my local library. Here’s my review of this interesting book.

Have you ever wondered why you look the way you do, or why you are gifted in certain areas more than others? Well there is no supernatural answer, its actually something that’s been inside you’d since the minute you were born; it is called a gene. Genetics is a very broad topic that is very complicated, and it is an understatement to say that it is very time consuming to learn. However there is a quick way to pick up the basics of the broad topic, through a compelling, interesting, descriptive book called “Genetics and Human Health”

I stumbled upon this book in the library one afternoon and decided to give it a read. I had always wanted to learn about genetics, more than what they taught in school. I had some spare time during the Coronavirus situation so I decided to give it a go. I finished the book in one afternoon, with no breaks. The short, 115 page book, had been so compelling and intuitive, it was like an answer for the many questions I had on genetics. The book by Faith Hickman Byrnie is one of the best structured books on genetics that I’ve read. Despite the fact that it was published in 1995, the book is one of the best introduction into the world of genetics for a middle schooler. The stories the author incorporated into the book to explain what genetics was, had an impact on me. The stories were not bland, but full of vivid detail and were more than compelling; it will keep you engaged. These stories, however compelling, intuitive and explaining in an easy, comprehensible way, can be somewhat sad and tragic. The author does a very good job of ending these sad stories on a high note by the end of a chapter, so that you are never gloomy while continuing to read.

The book further keeps the reader engaged by the use of arithmetic problems and critical thinking problems. With a more in-depth viewpoint, the book goes into detail on genetic diseases. The book contains information on common genetic diseases and identifies their symptoms and how common they are, how traits can be tracked through generations or a family through a pedigree (explains the legend of it in great detail), why certain races or groups of people are more prone to certain genetic diseases and the history of genetics before modern times (who found the idea). It also gives basic information on the structure of the cell (to help the reader better understand the area where the gene is located), explains meiosis (reproduction of sex cells) to explain how genetic diseases are transferred and how people who are affected by genetic diseases not by having it, but indirectly by someone who has it in their family and how it can affect them in numerous ways e.g. financially.

The book has numerous examples of how some people took it upon themselves to find a solution to the problem with genetics (the story of Nancy Wexler; I really suggest you read more about her life, it is very interesting). All in all, this is a great read for anyone who wants to start getting into genetics but wants a brief, quick way to understand this broad topic. This is a great book to read in one or 2 sittings and will keep you hooked so you are never bored, or lose interest.

The book is available at these fine retailers, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Grady, D. March 10, 2020. A Second Interview with Dr. Nancy Wexler, 30 Years Later.
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