Life’s Greatest Secret: The Race to Crack the Genetic Code

It is fair to say I have spent most of my bachelor getting excited about the discoveries made about life. Most often the first phrase was ‘Brilliant!’ and the second one was ‘Why I haven’t come up with something like this before? With my high school knowledge, I should have thought of this even if I couldn’t test it!’. After getting the comprehensive history of the field with Cobb’s Life’s Greatest Secret, I know why.

The way we structure our textbooks leaves no room to learn from failures. All the textbooks I have read for courses (maybe most of them not all) contain never-ending information that ends up being boring. The path, which led to that information, is never mentioned. If mentioned by chance, it doesn’t give the full picture. I remember being mesmerized by the Hersey-Chase experiment and how they used a house blender for these experiments. Couldn’t have been more wrong! Not only this experiment wasn’t a conclusive one, in that era about the hereditary material, the choice of equipment also wasn’t a house blender. Thank you Cobb for waking me up! I must say, I loved the note about Chase’s complaints about low pay.

There is hope in restoring my excitement about science, I just have read more on the path that led to what we know today. Then I will find my own way to walk.

If you don’t have molecular biology knowledge, it is difficult to follow the timeline of events. You might assume that the book is in chronological order. It’s not entirely true. It is more focused on the main hypotheses of the era, so expect some minor jumps. That’s actually why I have given it a four and a three. I loved the focus on the hypotheses (4), but some things felt repetitive and difficult to keep track of (3).

Next on the reading list is The Gene 😉

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.