17 November 2015

The sum of biotechnology!

Hurray! My popular science book has finally come out!

The Corpus publishing house announced that in the coming days, the "Sum of Biotechnology" (a guide to combating myths about the genetic modification of plants, animals and people) will be available to buy "almost everywhere". For example, it should appear in the bookstore "Moscow" ***. Now the book is being shipped to stores.

*** For friends from Moscow. If it makes no difference to you where and when to buy a book, then I have a theoretical consideration about why it is better to do it in a Moscow bookstore in the coming week. Don't look for deep meaning, consider it a personal wish. But check that it is available. If there are no copies left, then look elsewhere.

Link to the book on the publisher's website. The electronic version will appear later.

Asya Kazantseva, scientific journalist, winner of the Enlightener Award:
Biotechnology is the most important scientific field of the XXI century. Every year it leads to serious breakthroughs in medicine, information technology, and the food industry. Unfortunately, like any new discipline, it is badly taught at school, and therefore there is a huge gap between scientific knowledge and mass ideas about it: while scientists are developing golden rice that can save hundreds of thousands of children from blindness and death, the public continues to demand "non-GMO" products in stores. The long-awaited book by Alexander Panchin, one of the most prominent popularizers of science and fighters against obscurantism in modern Russia, is designed to bridge this gap.

Mikhail Gelfand, PhD, Professor, Member of the European Academy:
Alexander Panchin not only wittily and convincingly debunks myths about the harm of GMOs and the dangers of other genetic engineering technologies, but also talks about the basics of modern molecular biology, genetics and biotechnology. The experience of public speaking allows him to do this easily and accessible even for an unprepared reader. Therefore, I warmly recommend the "Sum of Biotechnology" not only to those who doubt, but also to those who are already convinced. For supporters of GMOs, this book will add arguments and give an example of building a convincing discourse, while for opponents – if they are willing to try to understand another point of view – it will give food for thought and, perhaps, allow a new look at the usual rhetoric. It is very important that all the author's statements are confirmed by references to scientific publications, which allows the reader to independently assess their credibility and reliability.

Alexander Markov, biologist, writer, winner of the Enlightener Prize:
The book, in my opinion, turned out fine. An excellent, competent, detailed story about modern biotechnologies is exactly what society needs now. I'm even a little sorry that in this text, which can actually be considered as a popular textbook, I had to devote so much space to nonsense like Seralini and Ermakova. They look so small against the background of the greatness of scientific progress that appears before the reader. But what can you do, you have to write about them, because it is this kind of petty riffraff that is the most real threat to the development of mankind.

Evgeny Kunin, Senior Researcher at the National Center for Biotechnological Information, the US National Library of Medicine, and the National Institutes of Health:
Alexander Panchin has written a wonderful book. Of course, this is about GMOs, and an unbiased reader will understand that there is no data on the harm of GMOs, but there is plenty about the benefits. But Alexander convincingly writes about much more general and important things, namely about the essence of science – primarily, of course, quantitative, statistical science – and its role in our lives. Only science will save the world – it is also beauty. Alexander Panchin's book perfectly convinces of this.

From the author: 
The illustrations for the book are made by the artist Oleg Dobrovolsky. It turned out something wonderful in the spirit of steampunk!I am very grateful to all the editors, consultants and reviewers who helped improve the book.
I present the table of contents:
Chapter 1. The Gospel of Genetic Engineering
  • GMOs are good
  • Chapter 2. A three-letter word
  • The word ”GMO" is bad
  • Chapter 3. The dream of the mind gives birth to monsters
  • Why are GMOs afraid
  • Chapter 4. Naturalistic error
  • Natural and artificial
  • Chapter 5. Grammar of life
  • DNA, genes, genomes
  • Chapter 6. My grandfather was a cherry
  • Genetic diversity of life, mutagenesis mechanisms, evolution and selection, precautionary principle
  • Chapter 7. So said Seralini
  • Mathematical statistics in biology, errors in research on the dangers of GMOs
  • Chapter 8. Monster Corporations
  • Multinational corporations, the organic food industry
  • Chapter 9. Gallop of the Amazon
  • Myths about GMOs, GMO safety
  • Chapter 10.
  • Over the abyss of liesBlack PR, labeling and detection of GMOs
  • Chapter 11. The syntax of life
  • Regulation of genes
  • Chapter 12.
  • Present your genomeDNA reading, genomic analysis, genomic wars, personalized medicine, metagenomics
  • Chapter 13. Playing God
  • Technologies for creating GMOs, synthetic biology, changing the genetic code
  • Chapter 14. Dark alleles
  • Genetic compatibility, hereditary diseases, gene therapy, artificial insemination, DNA diagnostics
  • Chapter 15.
  • Immaculate ConceptionCloning, chimeras, humanization of animals
  • Chapter 16. God is dead: long live the superman!
  • Anti-aging, artificial organs, life extension
  • The book contains links to more than 500 sources (the vast majority are scientific articles).
I tried to tell you in an accessible and interesting way about the most important things in modern biotechnology.

I would be very grateful if you leave your feedback, tell your friends and acquaintances about the book. Genetic engineering is very important and people should not be afraid of it. Let's not give offense to scientific progress!

About me: Candidate of Biological Sciences in the specialty "Mathematical Biology, Bioinformatics", graduated from the Faculty of Bioengineering and Bioinformatics of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, senior researcher at the Institute of Information Transmission Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, scientific journalist.
Member of the Expert Council of the Harry Houdini Prize.
Member of the board of the educational fund "Evolution", which coincidentally was launched today. The foundation's Facebook page.
Administrator of the community "Scientists against pseudoscience".

Come to the non-fiction book fair on November 28. From 16:00 to 17:00 there will be a round table "Prospects for the development of science and biotechnology in Russia" with my participation.Come to the Skepticon Skeptics Society conference on November 29.
There will also be a presentation of the book.
(The invitation, alas, is outdated: on the day of publication of this message on the author's website, registration for the conference was already closed – VM). Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru

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