These books invite readers to "explore some approaches that have proven useful in health care and some that are still experimental," introducing useful products for medicine, agriculture, and industry produced by biotechnology. Beginning with a definition of biotechnology, each book offers not only information but also opportunities to "stop and think."
This volume decribes bioinformatics revolutionizing biology as well as the genes code for protein, human genome, medicine in an age of proteomics, and the NCBI Server. It asks important questions such as: "How do microarrays help scientists determine the genes that are involved in certain diseases or genetic conditions?" Or, "What do you think would happen if a person had a mutation that caused ATP synthase to work incorrectly or if a person's body did not make enough ATP synthase?" The lengthy forward in the book, written by the 1993 Nobel prize winner in chemistry Kary B. Mullis, is not to be missed. Mullis sets the context for the material and adds to the understanding of what is sometimes a difficult subject. He uses first person to describe what is done in his lab and ends with "biotech is far out, man!" This will engage students right away. Readers are invited to e-mail him if they find something more interesting than genes and memes!
"Connections" in every chapter summarize the information and extend readers' thinking. The author provides a glossary of words that are in bold throughout the text, an index, a bibliography, and suggestions for further reading. There are photos, technical drawings, and an extensive list of web resources. A timeline of biotechnology from 4000-2000 B.C. to 2005 A.D. supports integration.
The material is presented in a way that supports inquiry, asking appropriate questions on every issue and presenting all sides of the issues. Middle and high school classes, as well as entry level college classes, could use the series either for reference or to provide real-life connections to content. I found the book very easy to understand and would encourage my students to research these issues to become informed. Current event topics in the news could be brought into class for discussion. Using this book for background and informed views would be easy.