Daniel M. Davis · 1 DOWNLOADT that s enough of the negatives On the positive side I was impressed that Davis had personally interviewed a good number of scientists when authoring this account Conseuently the pen portraits that he includes ndoubtedly contain information not likely to be found elsewhere For example from interviewing Eric Schadt a leading light in genomics I learned that he was the son of Christian parents who considered a college education to be worthless to the point that when Schadt left the US Air Force to attend college his father reckoned he must have become possessed by the devil and should never again return home Incredible I thought that such attitudes persisted into the late 20th century One of the best chapters for me examined the ways that sense can be made of genetic information in the development of new medicines It s been known for many years that most diseases and conditions are not caused by a single gene but rather result from many genes acting in concert Therefore there is much interest in studying interactions between genes which has prompted a lot of research into these relationships But here Davis retells a parable there was once a kingdom that had a map of the land but it wasn t considered sufficiently informative The call went out for a better map one that measured and recorded the land down to the last minute detail The result was a perfect map but it proved totally seless because it was
as big as the kingdom itself The message here is that it is fine to collect and information but very importantbig as the kingdom itself The message here is that it is fine to collect and information but very important sift through it to determine what is important and what isn t otherwise we end p crushed Programming in Objective C under a mountain of data but none the wiser about what it meansIn this chapter Davis also ponders how a scientist can select a field to research that is likely to yield results that are both new and important As he points out My view is that since the very essence of discovery is that nobody predicted it who s to know what s best to do next Too true And a good response to those tiresome people whoestion why a particular field of research is being pursued when at least in their opinion there are far worthier topics that should be investigatedI found the book went downhill in the final three chapters where Davis speculated that the MHC genes may influence our choice of partners our the MHC genes may influence our choice of partners our wellbeing and the success of pregnancy Here I felt that he may have overinflated the role of MHC genes at the expense of the immune system in general because after all the MHC is only a part of a system that is considered by some to be second only to the human brain in terms of its complexity Overall this is a good book but would be a better book were it not for the irritating reference to compatibility genes rather than MHC or HLA genes On a similar note the book is also let down by poor explanations of the basic science as if Davis feels that the likely readership would be Beyond Band of Brothers unable tonderstand personally I suspect that most readers attracted to this book will have some grounding in science I think the book would also benefit from some diagrams to explain the science at present there is just one figure On the other hand the text is well referenced with a The Water Of Life useful index both being features I much appreciate in a popular science book Some of the best popular science books tells as much about the people as the science and that is the approach taken by Daniel Davis In exploring the compatibility gene or accurately the compatibility genes I don t Ishing links between who we are as individuals and our never ceasing struggle to survive disease Most of the 25000 genes we possess are the same for all of The Year of Living Biblically us Compatibility genes are those that vary most from. This book describes the history of immunology focusing on the genes that help our bodies to discriminate self from non self the major histocompatibility genes The author does a great job explaining a very complex system that to this day we do not completelynderstand In addition to the history and the basic science the author also spends a section of the book on some of the ارتقاء الإنسان uniue characteristics of this gene including its potential function in the brain and in body odors and attraction The book is well written and accessible to most with a basicnderstanding of science I m going to preface this by saying I read this a few years ago and some of the details may be hazy Overall I thought Davis did a great job of introducing a complex scientific topic in a way which makes it accessible to people without a scientific background and overall this was an interesting read if a bit dryHowever than while reading any other non fiction science book I ve read reading The Compatibility Gene made me painfully aware of the bias that women in science have historically faced and continue to face It s not that credit was taken away from women and given to men of course fewer women than men were involved in the discoveries detailed as always in the history of science just that there is a disparity in the way in which their personal lives were described I do not think this is Davis fault I am sure he was just working with the information available to him and that the personal lives and voices of the male scientists included in this scientific story were well recorded than any female scientists involved All the same if women being sidelined is something which psets you you might not enjoy this book This book by immunologist Daniel Davis concerns the Major Histocompatibility Complex genes MHC also known by the synonym HLA in humans This is what Davis means by his phrase compatibility genes These genes code for cell surface proteins that are key to how the adaptive immune system distinguishes between self and non self What s because of an extremely high degree of variability ie polymorphism in these genes across populations they also determine the success of organ transplants To illustrate the extent of this polymorphism Davis points out that 268000 people from across the UK are represented by 119000 different combinations of compatibility genes adding that this is probably an nderestimate of the true extent of genetic diversityI found the book frustrating at times but interesting all the same As far as the history goes of ncovering the mysteries of the MHC genes Davis does a good job of bringing mysteries of the MHC genes Davis does a good job of bringing life some of the key scientists involved Unfortunately to my mind he doesn t do so well in explaining the science which he seems to dumb down in too many places For example in describing what a protein is he writes that it is a long chains of atoms connected together in a string and fails to mention that a protein is built p from amino
Acids Which Is Awhich is a way of
defining a protein even to a non scientista protein even to a non scientist that really grated with me was Davis s Scary Stories 3 use of the phrase compatibility genes when referring to the MHC genes a term he seems to have devised for this book but which as far as I know is notsed by other scientists researching this field To make matters worse and presumably to make it punchier the title of the book ses the singular form ie the compatibility gene which suggests that a single gene is involved which is not the case Bu. The Compatibility Gene takes readers on a global journey of discovery spanning 60 years involving scores of scientists and encompassing the history of transplants and immunology That journey has revealed aston. Now why it s singular in the title He takes s on a voyage of discovery through the key
STEPS TO IDENTIFYING THE SMALL GROUPto identifying the small group genes that seem to contribute to making that individual or less compatible with other people whether on the level of transplants or sexual compatibility taking in our growing nderstanding of the immune system along the wayIt probably helps that Davis is a practising scientist in the field the director of research at the University of Manchester s Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research And A Research and a professor at Imperial College London Often frankly discovering the book is by a working scientist can mean turgid text or an inability to explain the science in a way the general reader can nderstand but Davis writes fluently and often beautifully as much in love with the history of his trade as the scientific breakthroughs he coversA good example of the way he brings a topic to life is the first subject to come Tono Bungay under his spotlight the Nobel Prize winning Peter Medawar and his colleagues several of whom also get a good biographical introduction I ve read before about Medawar s work on rejection and compatibility in transplants but in Davis hands it s almost as if you are talking to Medawar about his life and achievements giving a real insight into the bumpy process of scientific discoveryThe book divides into three looking at the scientific revolution in compatibility the frontier of compatibility and the overarching system which includes the near notorious T shirt sniffing research and the remarkable suggestion that a couple having the right mix of compatibility genes can enhance their ability to have children All in all there s a good mix of the relatively familiar and the surprising new all handled in Davis measured likeable phrasingI only really have two small niggles I ve never written a review yet without any One is that I think Davis is almost too close to the subject and as a result perhaps gives it of a sense of importance than it deserves Of course from a medical viewpoint this is important work but the way he seems to put itp there with the work of Newton Darwin and Einstein perhaps overinflates its importance The other slight problem I have is that for me there is rather too much biography and not Magical Sweet Mermaid uite enough science It s interesting that the lead endorsement in the press release is by Bill Bryson It sounds terrible but I m only really interested in the biographies of a handful of key scientists and that apart I d rather just have aick sketch and get into the science in a bit depth but I appreciate that this might be a very different opinion from that of many would be readersSo don t be put off by that textbook like low key cover this is a really interesting read about a fascinating area of genetics and medicine Recommended A short compelling look at the immune system s major histocompatibility complex Davis effectively explains how the immune system recognises self and non self and thus effectively identifies disease within the body or on occasion fails to He also looks at the other ways that the compatibility genes affect our body for instance there is an interesting section on the impact of the immune system on pregnancy He also details the major scientific achievements that led to these discoveries I could have done with slightly fewer appellations of hero to the admittedly tireless and brilliant scientists of his narrative but overall it was an enjoyable and informative rea. Person to person and give each of The Choice us aniue molecular signature These genes determine both the extent to which we are susceptible to a vast range of illnesses and the different ways each of Elementary Treatise in Herbology us fights disease.
Daniel M. Davis