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Mapping Humanity

By Joshua Rappoport


Boston College Executive Director of Research Infrastructure Joshua Z. Rappoport’s Mapping Humanity provides a detailed look at how the explosion in genetic information as a result of cutting-edge technologies is changing our lives and our world.

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Thanks to the popularity of personal genetic testing services, it’s now easier than ever to get information about our own unique DNA—but who does this information really benefit? And, as genome editing and gene therapy transform the healthcare landscape, what do we gain—and what might we give up in return?

Inside each of your cells is the nucleus, a small structure that contains all of the genetic information encoded by the DNA inside, your genome. Not long ago, the first human genome was sequenced at a cost of approximately $100M; now, this same test can be done for about $1,000. This new accessibility of genome sequence information creates huge potential for advances in how we understand and treat disease, among other things. It also raises significant concerns regarding ethics and personal privacy.

In Mapping Humanity: How Modern Genetics Is Revealing the Past, Predicting the Future, and Changing Our Lives Forever, cellular biology expert Joshua Z. Rappoport provides a detailed look at how the explosion in genetic information as a result of cutting-edge technologies is changing our lives and our world.

Inside, discover:

  • An in-depth look at how your personal genome creates the unique individual that you are
  • How doctors are using DNA sequencing to identify the underlying genetic causes of disease
  • Why the field of gene therapy offers amazing potential for medical breakthroughs—and why it’s taking so long
  • The fantastic potential—and troubling concerns—surrounding genome editing
  • The real impact—and validity—of popular personal genetic testing products, such as 23andMe
  • Details of how molecular biology and DNA are changing the criminal justice system

Throughout, in compelling, accessible prose, Rappoport explores the societal, ethical, and economic impacts of this new era. Offering a framework for balancing the potential risks and benefits of genetic information technologies and genetic engineering, Mapping Humanity is an indispensable guide to navigating the possibilities and perils of our gene-centric future.

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About the Author

Joshua  Rappoport

Dr. Joshua Z. Rappoport received a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Brown University, and then went on to earn a Ph.D. from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Rappoport performed postdoctoral work at The Rockefeller University in New York City in the Laboratory of Cellular Biophysics. Subsequently he was recruited as a faculty member in the School of Biosciences at the University of Birmingham in the UK.  In 2014 Dr. Rappoport returned to the United States to serve as the Director of the Center for Advanced Microscopy and Nikon Imaging Center at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and as a faculty member in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. In March 2019, Dr. Rappoport took on the position of Executive Director, Research Infrastructure at Boston College.  
Dr. Rappoport is interested in understanding the broader impacts of exciting developments in science and technology.  His first book, The Cell: Discovering the Microscopic World that Determines Our Health, Our Consciousness, and Our Future, came out in 2017, and his second book Mapping Humanity: How Modern Genetics Is Changing Criminal Justice, Personalized Medicine, and Our Identities, was recently published

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Publication Details

Format: Paperback

Dimensions: 6 x 9 x 1 in.

Weight: 1 lbs.

Format: E-book (epub)

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