How many genes are in the human genome? Which genes are commonly associated with genetic diseases? How many mobile elements, simple sequence repeats, or protein kinases are encoded in the genome? What are the largest genes and proteins? How similar are human proteins to those of mouse, yeast, or bacteria?
Although the human genome has been sequenced, it often can be surprisingly difficult to find answers to seemingly simple questions about its characteristics. This convenient handbook, written in question-and-answer format, allows researchers and teachers alike access to basic facts about the human genome.
Using a recent assembly of the human genome sequence, Stewart Scherer has compiled answers to a broad range of questions about the structure and function of the human genome. Answers to each question are presented in a direct, straightforward style. Numerous figures and tables are included to illustrate and summarize the information.
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About the author: Stewart Scherer received a BS in Biology from Caltech in 1977 and a PhD in Biochemistry from Stanford in 1982, and then returned to Caltech for postdoctoral work. From 1986 through 1996 he was in the Microbiology Department of the University of Minnesota. While at Minnesota, he spent time working at the LBL Human Genome Center. Since leaving Minnesota, he has focused on bioinformatics, both in industry and in the analysis of the Candida albicans genome. After lecturing on genomics at Caltech in 2004, his efforts have centered on writing about the human genome.
Scherer has compiled a wonderful text that not only answers many of the kinds of questions that I can think to ask about the human genome, but the kinds of questions that I get from my students and other instructors. The whole book in fact consists of questions and answers.
Although the book truly is short in length, 173 pages including the index, its long on the kinds of answers that youd like to have at your fingertips. These kinds of analyses are not readily available from skimming the databases. I know from personal experience that gathering these kinds of data and compiling them so nicely in tables and readily accessible summaries takes time and effort. Clearly, Scherer has spent many hours doing the research to put this book together.
As a researcher, I would want A Short Guide to the Human Genome for quick reference. As an instructor, this text is going to serve as a really great source of questions to ask my students. I also think, since it mostly addresses the human genome, the questions inside suggest a wealth of potential student projects with genomes from other organisms.
Sandra Porter, FinchTalk
Its a fun little review; appropriate for browsing during your in-between time. As the title emphasizes this guide is characterized by extreme brevity, under 200 pages. Nevertheless it attempts a survey of the major results which have come to light over the past decade in human genomics.
Razib Khan, GeneExpression
The most surprising aspect [of this book] is that the author presents many personal analyses of raw data from the National Center for Biotechnology Informations database. This is appealing as it reflects new analyses instead of published ones. In fact, Scherer makes a distinction throughout between the sequenced and complete genomes because the raw sequence itself is not even finished...
A second appealing aspect is the authors recognition of simple questions for which published analyses are not easily found. For example, what is the single base composition in the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes? What are the largest genes? What are the largest proteins?...
[T]he author has labored in providing a powerful barrage of data for potent questions.
The Quarterly Review of Biology