Herding Hemingway's Cats

Herding Hemingway's Cats

Understanding How Our Genes Work

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:

The language of genes has become common parlance. We know they make our eyes blue, our hair curly, and they control our risks of cancer, heart disease, alcoholism, and Alzheimer's. One thousand dollars will buy you your own genome readout, neatly stored on a USB stick. And advances in genetic medicine hold huge promise.

We've all heard of genes, but how do they actually work ? There are six feet of DNA inside every one of your cells; this encodes 20,000 or so genes, tangled into a mass of molecular spaghetti. This is the text of the cookbook of life, and hidden within these strands are the instructions that tell cells when and where to turn genes on or off.

In 1935, Ernest Hemingway was supposedly given Snow White, a six-toed cat who went on to father a line of similar offspring that still roam the writer's Florida estate. Scientists now know that the fault driving this profusion of digits lies in a tiny genetic control switch, miles away (in molecular terms) from the gene that "makes" toes. Researchers are discovering more about the myriad molecular switches that make sure genes are turned on at the right time and in the right place, and what happens when they don't work properly. This is allowing a four-dimensional picture of DNA to be built--a dynamic biological library, rather than static strings of code. Geneticist Kat Arney explores the intricacies of how, out of this seeming genetic chaos, life is created.

Publisher: London : Bloomsbury Sigma, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2016.
ISBN: 9781472910042
Branch Call Number: 572.861 Arn
Characteristics: 288 pages ; 23 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

May 26, 2018

A superb insight into the functions of so called junk DNA.

Aug 13, 2016

An interesting overview of current themes and research into DNA and the genome. The central thesis is that what you learned in biology is not how DNA/RNA works, but it seems like no one is quite sure--or more accurately, agrees--on how it does work. Well-written and interesting for the view it gives on the researchers as much as for it gives on the research.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at VPL

To Top