A Brief History of Genetics
Biological inheritance, the passage of key characteristics down the generations, has always held mankind’s fascination. It is fundamental to the breeding of plants and animals with desirable traits. Genetics, the scientific study of inheritance, can be traced back to a particular set of simple but ground-breaking studies carried out 170 years ago. The awareness that numerous diseases are inherited gives this subject considerable medical importance. The progressive advances in genetics now bring us to the point where we have unravelled the entire human genome, and that of many other species. We can intervene very precisely with the genetic make-up of our agricultural crops and animals, and even ourselves. Genetics now enables us to understand cancer and develop novel protein medicines. It has also provided us with DNA fingerprinting for the solving of serious crime. This book explains for a lay readership how, where and when this powerful science emerged.
Dr Chris Rider gained his BSc followed by a PhD from the Department of Biochemistry at Sheffield University, UK, where he continued as a Medical Research Council-funded researcher, also being appointed as an Honorary Lecturer. He then moved to Royal Holloway University of London, eventually becoming Reader in Matrix Biology, where he supervised externally-funded biochemical research on topics encompassing neuroscience, the immune system, plant molecular biology, HIV and growth factors. During this time he also spent a 12-month sabbatical research period as Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA. Following his retirement from full-time employment, he remains a Visiting Lecturer at Royal Holloway. During his career, he has published more than 40 peer-reviewed research papers, co-authored two scientific reviews, and written two academic book chapters.
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