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Cartoon Guide To Genetics [Paperback]

Larry Gonick
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 21.99
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Book Description

Aug. 1 1991 0062730991 978-0062730992 New edition
Illustrates, simplifies, and humor-coats the important principles of classical and modern genetics and their experimental bases, with amusing anecdotes about how the ancients tried to explain inheritance and sex determination.

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Cartoon Guide To Genetics + Cartoon Guide To Physics + The Cartoon Guide To Calculus
Price For All Three: CDN$ 49.06

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Having trouble deciphering your genetic code? Do dominant genes make you feel recessive? Let reigning nonfiction cartoonist Larry Gonick and microbiologist Mark Wheelis ease your way through Mendelian genetics, molecular biology, and the basics of genetic engineering. Gonick's drawings range from a moderately detailed look at ribosomes in action to loony pictures of dancing scientists, talking peas, and opinionated fruit flies. Matthew Meselson, co-discoverer of the "one gene-one protein" principle, says, "it puts textbooks to shame"--and he's right. --Mary Ellen Curtin


"If you can't learn Mendelian genetics from this text, I guess you never will." -- -- New Scientist

"It puts textbooks to shame." -- -- Matthew Meselson, Professor of Biology, Harvard Univercity

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent intro to an important field Sept. 17 2003
Genetics, as you've probably heard, is a field of study that's likely going to play a very big part in society's near future. It's also a tough branch of science to grasp. What's the difference between DNA, a gene, a chromosome and a genome? How much of a role does genetics play in your health - is DNA destiny?
This book is a solid introduction to understanding genetics: the basics of the science, the history of humanity's knowledge of it, how it relates to other fields (ie evolution) - all explained well, in both word and the highly helpful illustrations. As always, Gonick tosses in some humor with his cartoons, but don't be fooled into thinking this is kid stuff. He delves into serious science. (And I noted with great amusement that one reviewer who hated the book was a big fan of the "for dummies" series. Irony much?)
I liked this book a lot - not quite as good as The Cartoon Guide to Physics, and bear in mind that current advances in genetics may well render parts of the book outdated soon... but it's still well worth reading.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Introduction to Genetics Aug. 29 2003
By "lkm49"
I use this book to introduce 8th graders to Genetics as it is entertaining, gives them good basic information and keeps them amused (and therefore reading!). Because we are working with basic genetics and because I am able to bring them to the present once they understand the basic concepts this book works very well as a text. I also find that it works well with a variety of ability groups. For the poor reader it is very visually stimulating and the writers are pretty funny. It also reads well in spurts or chunks. For the more advanced reader or student it is good because they can read through it quickly and get all the basic information that I need them to have for this class. I highly recommend the book for any middle school teachers that want to introduce a fairly abstract topic to a group of students who are predominantly still concrete learners. If you are looking for a book to inform you on new discoveries in the field this is not your book, but if you need a book to introduce genetic concepts to young people (or older non-readers), this is an excellent choice.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Fun, but not doesn't cover more than the basics June 24 2003
I purchased this book to review the basics of genetics, mostly to be able to sound more knowledgeable than my pre-med significant other. I was very dissapointed to find that the book covered fundamentally the same material I remembered seeing as a freshman in high school 15 years ago. Not only has it not been updated to reflect the explosion in genetics, it basically covers the same fundametals one has gotten in a basic high school course. If you didn't understand it then, this book will help, otherwise it will just give you an interesting hour or two. I love Larry Gonick's other works (especially the History of the Universe series), but this one just doesn't measure up.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written and uninformative June 1 2003
This piece of junk found its way to my garbage can not long after buying it. I've had great success with the "For Dummies" series in acquiring computer application knowledge, so figured that this book could replicate that success in a scientific field. That was not the case.
Cartoon-based, this book is more properly called cartoonish. It explains genetics poorly, if at all, and makes over-generalizations, too simplistic analogies, and dull, plodding stabs at bringing this interesting field to light. Definitely a pass for any serious reader, dilettante, or the idly curious.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Genetics for dummies May 29 2003
this is a pretty good book that covers the basics, but I would never confuse this with a textbook. I would have to disagree with the assertion that it "puts all textbooks to shame," as the Harvard prof put it. it's good for laypersons who might not have any prior knowledge of genetics. however, for those of us who are biology majors/biochem minors, at least this was what I was thinking: aww, how cute, a comic book. don't get me wrong- I'm not trying to insult the authors. nonscience people who want to learn about this stuff should because the subject matter and current implications in food and agriculture are important, and it's a good book to start off with.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Historical tour through genetics in a comic book Jan. 9 2003
By Audiaa
The cartoon guide to genetics is like a comic book through the history of genetics starting with ancient times and going through modern genetic engineering. The chronological arrangement of information is informative and interesting. In the age of the sequenced human genome it is often hard to think of what science was like without information that is now taken for granted. The scientists that paved the way for modern genetics -Mendel, Beadle, Griffith, Chargaff and many more and their landmark experiments are all given a moment in the spotlight. Even some incorrect theories are introduced including the reasoning behind them at the time. The section on Mendel's famous pea plant experiments is especially well done. There are several pages of Punnett squares (though the author doesn't really use that word) and drawings of what causes the different ratios. This concept is often hard for students to understand, but it is explained well and simply here.
This book does not assume that the reader has any scientific background and everything is explained from the basics. It also does not get into real detail about anything, but that kind of detail isn't necessary for a broad understanding of genetics. Most of the comics aren't really that funny, but even so they bring levity to an often difficult topic. I happen to enjoy the picture of the human-strawberry hybrid. This is a great book for visual learners who like to see everything; the diagrams in this book make complicated systems simpler without leaving out too much. This is a good background resource for anyone who wants to understand the hot topic of genetics. Granted a lot has happened since this book was published, but the foundation is still the same.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good introduction
This book is just another of Larry Gonick's successes in books. After borrowing a couple of his books I decided to buy most of his publications. Read more
Published on Nov. 17 2002 by Marco Ruiz
4.0 out of 5 stars -ACAAATGGGCTAG- (Spells out: I like it)
I bought this book, because a friend of mine once mentioned it, and when I later stumbled on it I simply had to buy it. Read more
Published on Dec 25 2001 by Rasmus Wollenberg
4.0 out of 5 stars Great introductory text to genetics
This book was written in 1983 to present an interesting and unintimidating approach to explaining Mendelian genetics, interspersing humor with history and simplifying some of the... Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2001 by Jim Carson
5.0 out of 5 stars Biology is FUN!
I loved this book. It was so much fun. I'm a medical school student and I just finished a Cell Biology class. Read more
Published on July 6 2001 by Ivi
4.0 out of 5 stars Demystifies DNA
I'm no science genius and college zoology left me still in the dark regarding DNA. I bought this book because one reviewer said that his colleague was using it for a genetics... Read more
Published on April 18 2001 by "swift112"
5.0 out of 5 stars A great refresher course on genetics
Having graduated from college more than ten years ago, I was becoming increasingly frustrated in trying to keep up with the latest advances in the biotech/pharmaceutical industry. Read more
Published on Feb. 7 2001 by James Jorasch
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant teaching tool
As a senior biology teacher, I have found tis tool invaluable. Before teaching the section, using some of the cartoon background, settles the learners as it makes the science less... Read more
Published on Feb. 4 2001 by C. M. Aldous
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