Drawing the Map of Life: Inside the Human Genome Project

TUE, JUL 20, 2010 (46:08)

Science writer and founder the Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at MIT, Victor McElheny, for a look into the workings of the Human Genome Project and his new book, Drawing the Map of Life. Drawing the Map of Life is the dramatic story of the Human Genome Project from its origins, through the race to order the three billion subunits of DNA, to the surprises emerging as scientists seek to exploit the molecule of heredity. It’s the first account to deal in depth with the intellectual roots of the project, the motivations that drove it, and the hype that often masked genuine triumphs. Victor McElheny offers profiles of key people, such as David Botstein, Eric Lander, Francis Collins, James Watson, Michael Hunkapiller, and Craig Venter. McElheny also shows that the Human Genome Project is a striking example of how new techniques (such as restriction enzymes and sequencing methods) often arrive first, shaping the questions scientists then ask. Drawing on years of original interviews and reporting in the inner circles of biological science, Drawing the Map of Life is the definitive, up-to-date story of today’s greatest scientific quest.

+ BIO: Victor K. McElheny

Victor K. McElheny is a distinguished science writer whose work has appeared in The Charlotte Observer, Science magazine, The Boston Globe and The New York Times, reporting on such topics as science in Antarctica and Europe, the Apollo lunar landing program and the green revolution in Asia. At The Times during the 1970s, he founded one of the first technology columns in American newspapers. In 1983 he helped found the Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at MIT. His previous books are Insisting on the Impossible: The Life of Edwin Land and Watson and DNA: Making a Scientific Revolution.

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