Genomics: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780198786207

John M. Archibald
152 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
Mar 2018
Very Short Introductions


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  • Explores the science of genomics and its rapidly expanding toolbox, and discusses its impact on epidemiology, medicine, evolution and forensics
  • Considers the implications of fast, cheap human genome sequencing for our health and privacy
  • Describes how genomics has changed our approach to the biological sciences, and vastly increased our understanding of the natural world

Genomics has transformed the biological sciences. From epidemiology and medicine to evolution and forensics, the ability to determine an organism's complete genetic makeup has changed the way science is done and the questions that can be asked of it. Its most celebrated achievement was the Human Genome Project, a technologically challenging endeavor that took thousands of scientists around the world 13 years and over 3 billion US dollars to complete. 

In this Very Short Introduction John Archibald explores the science of genomics and its rapidly expanding toolbox. Sequencing a human genome now takes only a few days and costs as little as $1,000. The genomes of simple bacteria and viruses can be sequenced in a matter of hours on a device that fits in the palm of your hand. The resulting sequences can be used to better understand our biology in health and disease and to 'personalize' medicine. Archibald shows how the field of genomics is on the cusp of another quantum leap; the implications for science and society are profound.


1: What is genomics?
2: How to read the book of life
3: Making sense of genes and genomes
4: The human genome in biology and medicine
5: Evolutionary genomics
6: Genomics and the microbial world
7: The future of genomics
Further Reading

About the author: 

John M. Archibald, Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Dalhousie University, and Senior Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Integrated Microbial Biodiversity Program
John Archibald is a Distinguished University Research Professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, and a Senior Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Program in Integrated Microbial Biodiversity. He is currently an Associated Editor for Genome Biology & Evolution, and an Editorial Board member of several journals, including Current Biology, BMC Biology, and Environmental Microbiology. Dr. Archibald's scientific interests revolve around the diversity and evolution of microbial eukaryotes and their organelles. He has written more than 100 scientific publications, and is the author of One Plus One Equals One: Symbiosis and the Evolution of Complex Life (Oxford University Press, 2014). In recognition of his scientific achievements, Dr. Archibald was elected to the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada (2016-2021).

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