The Epigenetics Revolution

How Modern Biology Is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Disease, and Inheritance

Nessa Carey

Columbia University Press

The Epigenetics Revolution

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Pub Date: October 2013

ISBN: 9780231161176

352 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $18.95

Pub Date: March 2012

ISBN: 9780231161169

352 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $26.95

Pub Date: March 2012

ISBN: 9780231530712

352 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $17.99

The Epigenetics Revolution

How Modern Biology Is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Disease, and Inheritance

Nessa Carey

Columbia University Press

Epigenetics can potentially revolutionize our understanding of the structure and behavior of biological life on Earth. It explains why mapping an organism's genetic code is not enough to determine how it develops or acts and shows how nurture combines with nature to engineer biological diversity. Surveying the twenty-year history of the field while also highlighting its latest findings and innovations, this volume provides a readily understandable introduction to the foundations of epigenetics.

Nessa Carey, a leading epigenetics researcher, connects the field's arguments to such diverse phenomena as how ants and queen bees control their colonies; why tortoiseshell cats are always female; why some plants need cold weather before they can flower; and how our bodies age and develop disease. Reaching beyond biology, epigenetics now informs work on drug addiction, the long-term effects of famine, and the physical and psychological consequences of childhood trauma. Carey concludes with a discussion of the future directions for this research and its ability to improve human health and well-being.

Anyone seriously interested in who we are and how we function should read this book.

Peter Forbes, The Guardian

Nessa Carey takes us on a lively and up-to-date tour of what's known about epigenetic mechanisms and their implications for ageing and cancer.

Laurence Hurst, University of Bath, Focus Magazine

[Nessa Carey's] book combines an easy style with a textbook's thoroughness.... A bold attempt to bring epigenetics to a wide audience.

Jonathan Weitzman, Nature

Carey's report on the rapidly developing state of epigenetics research may help nonscientists with public-policy, investment, and health-care decisions.


An exhilarating exploration of an exciting new field, and a good gift for a bright biologystudent looking for a career choice.

Kirkus Reviews

An enlightening introduction to what scientists have learned in the past decade about [epigenetics].

Carl Zimmer, The Wall Street Journal

This book provides an excellent introduction to a fascinating new field that may revolutionize our understanding of human health and disease. Highly recommended.

Library Journal

A must-read for every intelligent person who likes to know what is going on in modern science.

Graham Storrs, New York Journal of Books

[Carey] provides an excellent and largely accurate account of a fascinating and fast-moving area of modern biology.

Jonathan Hodgkin, Times Literary Supplement

Written in an engaging manner using everyday metaphors to clarify complex concepts and utilizing well–defined diagrams, the author has produced an outstanding book with her wit and expertise.

Rita Hoots, NSTA Recommends (National Science Teachers Association)

[A] mercifully clear writer.

Katharine Whittemore, The Boston Globe
1. An Ugly Toad and an Elegant Man
2. How We Learned to Roll Uphill
3. Life As We Knew It
4. Life As We Know It Now
5. Why Aren't Identical Twins Actually Identical?
6. The Sins of the Fathers
7. The Generations Game
8. The Battle of the Sexes
9. Generation X
10. The Message Is Not the Medium
11. Fighting the Enemy Within
12. All in the Mind
13. The Downhill Slope
14. Long Live the Queen
15. The Green Revolution
16. The Ways Ahead
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About the Author

Nessa Carey is a visiting professor at Imperial College in London and currently works in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, where she has specialized in epigenetics for nearly a decade. She has strong relationships with leading epigenetics researchers, medical labs in Europe, and with some of the most prestigious institutions in the United States, including the Harvard Medical School, the MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the Wistar Institute.