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The Secrets of Life

Introduction to Genes and DNA
by Anna Claybourne and Stephen Moncrieff
This beautifully produced book uses striking pictures and clear explanations to provide a introduction to genetics that will interest adults as well as children.. The information is divided into double page spreads so it can either be dipped into or read from cover to cover - a system that works well as it allows readers of different ages and abilities to locate the facts they want without worrying about other parts they may not understand. In particular, readers who don't want to grapple with the complexities of the genetic code in DNA can still read and enjoy the other sections. As well as covering reproduction, inheritance and the history of genetics, the book looks at genetic medicine, genetic engineering, cloning and designer babies. It also takes a balanced look at the ethical issues surrounding genetics. (The book contains internet links but they are only there as an extra source of information so you don't have to use them.)
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How to Clone a Sheep
by Hazel Richardson, illustrated by Andy Cooke
(Oxford University Press)
Starting from first ideas and building to what may happen in the future, this book explains genetics, DNA, cells and how cloning is possible. Although the information is fairly complicated, the author succeeds in explaining it in an entertaining and simple way. Our 12 year old reviewer really enjoyed this book and was particularly impressed with the DNA race on pages 44-48.
Ages 9-12
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How to live forever
by Nick Arnold, illustrated by Tim Benton
(Oxford University Press)
As you would expect from the author of Scholastic's Horrible Science series, Nick Arnold has tackled the topic of ageing in a very accessible way and, in the process, touched on other topics like DNA. He talks about disease, old age and other things that can kill you and looks at how they have been overcome in the past and may be prevented in the future. At the end, he takes the readers step by step through what would need to happen to keep them alive for well over a hundred years.
Ages 9-12
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