Reading List

The books listed below are great examples of works of literature in which biological science concepts are the central focus.  Most are nonfiction, but some are works of fiction. 
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Venter, J. Craig  A Life Decoded: My Genome, My Life Autobiography of the scientist responsible for leading a team to sequencing the human genome in 2001. 
Diamond, Jared Collapse The choices societies make about their environment determine their success or failure. Using this idea, Diamond explores various extant and extinct cultures. 
Carroll, Sean Endless Forms Most Beautiful All about the role of DNA in developmental biology and its impact on evolutionary trends in organisms. 
Ridley, Matt Genome This book takes you on a tour of each of the 23 chromosomes that makes us human, using research gathered from the Human Genome Project. 
Crichton, Michael Jurassic Park Scientists clone dinosaurs to create an island theme park, and chaos ensues.  
Burnham, Terry and Jay Phelan Mean Genes This book discusses the biological basis for behaviors such as addiction, infidelity, vanity and affiliation with others.  
Cook, Robin Mutation Dr. Victor Frank genetically engineers embryos to be of above average intelligence, but his experiment goes awry when it is discovered that the resulting children die mysteriously, and are emotionless. 
Weiner, Jonathan My Brother's Keeper The story of two brothers--one of whom develops ALS, and the other who dives headfirst into scientific research to try and save him. 
Picoult, Jodi My Sister's Keeper A family struggles with the decision to have a baby through IVF in order to save their dying daughter in the hopes the new baby's bone marrow will match their older daughter's..  
Lane, Nick Oxygen: The Molecule That Made the World Excellent book about oxygen and its responsibility for both converting early Earth from an anaerobic atmosphere to an aerobic one, as well as its role in human disease processes.  
Carson, Rachel Silent Spring Landmark book about the effects of pesticides (notably DDT) on the environment and organisms living in it. 
Roach, Mary Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers A history of cadavers and their uses. 
Moalem, Sharon and Jonathan Prince Survival of the Sickest Excellent book about inherited diseases and how these chronic health conditions may have been survival adaptations for our ancestors. 
Lewis, Ricki The Forever Fix A history of gene therapy, both the good and the bad, as told through the stories of those who have been treated for inherited diseases using gene therapy. 
Preston, Richard The Hot Zone True story about the Ebola virus outbreaks in Africa and the US. 
Skloot, Rebecca The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks  The human story behind the most important contribution to cancer research: "immortal" cells obtained from a cancer patient in the 1950's. Excellent examination of the bioethical issues associated with research. 
Wells, Spencer The Journey of Man A book documenting Wells' travels over 6 continents as he collects genetic evidence of the human migration out of Africa. 
Miller, Geoffrey The Mating Mind This book discusses the runaway evolution of the human brain, and how sexual selection may have contributed to this process. 
Ridley, Matt The Red Queen  
Dawkins, Richard The Selfish Gene How DNA shapes evolutionary trends. 
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