Books on Genomics

These are books that investors in Lexi Ventures’ genomics funds would likely find illuminating.

The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee is a long book. It recounts the history of genomics. It covers the development of every important piece of the puzzle that gave our current understanding of genes. It is written with many little known amusing stories. Many relate to competition between researchers to solve mysteries. Mr. Mukherjee clearly did a lot of research.

The book is both entertaining and educational, but it’s not meant as a tutorial on genomics. The reason that each discovery is interesting will be most clear to readers who already have a basic understanding of the science of genomics. But everybody can enjoy the stories.

The Coming Wave by Mustafa Suleyman is a bit scary. It is about both artificial intelligence and synthetic biology and their awesome power to change the world, change society, and literally change people. Suleyman was co-founder of DeepMind (acquired by Google), which is widely recognized as one of the leading nests of innovation in AI technology.

The tone of the book is provocative. It intends to call attention to risks of tremendous harm and warns that the few people with the power to restrain the potential harms are not doing so and have no immediate motivation to do so.

I take the warning very seriously for the small role that Lexi Ventures has in influencing the progress of synthetic biology technology.

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari makes you think. It recounts the history of humanity, recounting the waves of technologies, each enabling the next. It began from the mutations that enabled language, flowed through the development of agriculture and finance, created cities, printing, computers, etc. Those technologies have all contributed to our modern understanding of genomics.

Sapiens also discusses religion, political organization, and possibilities in the future. The conclusions one might reach will lead many readers to question their prior views and opinions. It did for me.