Best Books on Genetics

Dive into the code of life with these critically acclaimed books on genetics. each title is a standout recommendation across respected literary and science publications, ranked by appearance frequency..

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The 9 best books about genetics.

The 9 best books about genetics hero image

The takeaway:  If you are set on understanding genetics, this wide-ranging list of books will provide you with a great start.

The history of the study of genetics is well documented in scientific literature and in spellbinding, page-turning best sellers. This history has been documented both by seasoned journalists and by the very people who played a role in key advancements in the field.

But with so many possible titles out there to pick from, where is a researcher, or even an interested bystander, to start? Here we lay out the nine best books on genetics—books you can read today.

Why read about genetics?

Genetics is a branch of biology that seeks to explain how traits are determined and passed down from generation to generation. Reading about genetics can teach you about DNA, chromosomes, and genes—the foundation of the genetic code—and how they give us traits. It can also shed light on diversity and variation among species, provide insight into health and disease, and point the way toward medical genetics.

Why learn about genetics?

Learning about genetics can help us understand our own health and how we can make healthy choices. They can also provide insight into cultures and species, help us to understand the world around us, and bolster our general understanding of science. But in the case of many of the books we present here, the opportunity is not simply to learn about the field—but instead it is to learn about those who played such a huge role in it and read the exact words they wrote.

What are the best books about genetics?

Here is a list of the nine best books about genetics:

"The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin 

Charles Darwin, who took his long flowing beard on the Beagle to the Galapagos Islands in 1835, found that several species of finches adapted to different environmental niches, and used this information to develop his theory of evolution. His collected thoughts on evolution were published in 1859 in this landmark book, which might rank among the most important works ever published. This book laid the foundations for evolutionary biology and the idea that populations evolve over the course of generations through natural selection, building on traits passed from one generation to another but based on variation that helps them survive and adapt to their natural world. The book challenged the popular notion of divine creation and ushered in a new understanding of our natural world.

"The Selfish Gene" by Richard Dawkins 

Richard Dawkins is an influential evolutionary biologist and atheist who argues that religious faith is a delusion and altruism is an evolutionary paradox. The Selfish Gene, published in 1976, is likely his most famous work, and it describes what Dawkins calls “selfish genes” and “replicators,” and goes into depth about the curious role altruism plays in selection. It has been called the most influential science book of all time and some have said it is the best book on genetics today.

"The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA" by James D. Watson 

James D. Watson is an American molecular biologist who, with Francis Crick in 1953, co-authored an academic paper that described the double helix structure of DNA. The Double Helix, a bestseller published in 1968, is his autobiographical account of that discovery, and as such was an unusual book for its time. While notable for its personalized account of the structure’s discovery, its publication was not all roses for Watson—criticism over the years has included scientific appropriation and academic sexism, and the book created as schism between Watson and Crick. If you are looking for interesting background, this could be one of the best books to study genetics. Part of that appropriation was of work by Rosalind Franklin, whose famous #51 x-ray image proved that Watson and Crick’s double helix model was correct.

"Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters" by Matt Ridley 

This 1999 popular science book uses the story of genes to explain the history of our species from the dawn of life into the future of medicine. Matt Ridley, a British science writer, former bank chairman, and former member of the House of Lords, details how chromosomes and genes play a role in disease, behavior, difference, and intelligence. Although the book is more than two decades old, its engaging narrative and timeless subject matter render it still important today. Want to learn about genetics but also have something accessible to a general audience? This is a best book on genetics for beginners.

"The Seven Daughters of Eve" by Bryan Sykes 

Who says all great science books have to be non-fiction? This 2001 work by Bryan Sykes, a geneticist, is semi-fictional, and tells the story of human origin in Africa and how early humans dispersed, their DNA shifting along the way. The title, with the number seven, recalls the breakthrough classification into modern Europeans along seven mitochondrial haplogroups, with each group defined by a set of mutations in the mitochondrial genome and traceable along a person’s maternal line to a specific prehistoric woman. These women share a common maternal ancestor, known as the mitochondrial Eve, or the matrilineal most common ancestor of all living humans. The book was called “lovely,” “rollicking,” “clear,” and “fascinating” by The Wall Street Journal.

"The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine" by Francis Collins 

Personalized medicine is the ultimate goal for many of those in the genetics field today, and this book describes how we are getting—and will get—there. Francis Collins is an American physician and geneticist who discovered many of the genes associated with diseases and who led the Human Genome Project. Collins was selected by Barack Obama to head the National Institutes of Health, and this book, now more than a decade old, helped cement his reputation for landmark discoveries. “His groundbreaking work has changed the very ways we consider our health and examine disease,” said Obama.

"DNA: The Secret of Life" by James D. Watson 

Yes, a double book nomination in this list for James Watson, who was the co-founder of the double helix structure of DNA and, along with Francis Crick, earned a Nobel for his efforts. While Watson’s earlier work, The Double Helix, may be better known, this book is worth a read, too. This book, published in 2003, tells the story of the molecule and its role in science and medicine as we have entered a period of modern genetics. The book is compelling and authoritative.

"The Gene: An Intimate History” by Siddhartha Mukherjee 

Siddhartha Mukherjee won a Pulitzer for his 2010 book, “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer.” This 2016 title, however, won its own share of awards, and made it to number one on The New York Times Best Seller List. This book details the history of genetic research, starting with Aristotle and running to today, and discusses the power of genetics to shape who we are as people. It goes much further, however, and chronicles Mukherjee’s own family history, including mental illness, while encouraging people to not let genes define who a person is or what sort of a future they are resigned to.

"She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity" by Carl Zimmer 

Named Science Book of the Year by The Guardian and called “extraordinary” by The New York Times, this book chronicles how our evolving understanding of genetics plays a role in just about every part of society and in our own lives. Zimmer, an award-winning journalist who has contributed to stalwart publications and outlets such as National Geographic, Discover, and National Public Radio, delves into topics such as heredity and how our understanding of them has changed in light of modern breakthroughs such as CRISPR genome editing.

To learn more about genetics and IDT’s role in the field, visit our website .

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Introduction to Genetics

best book to review genetics

Natasha Ramroop Singh, Kamloops, British Columbia

Copyright Year: 2009

Publisher: Thompson Rivers University

Language: English

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Reviewed by James Langeland, Professor, Kalamazoo College on 1/30/23

This text does what it claims to do. It provides an introductory overview of a broad swath of genetics. read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 4 see less

This text does what it claims to do. It provides an introductory overview of a broad swath of genetics.

Content Accuracy rating: 4

No glaring errors. One could always nitpick any text book.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 3

The text is relevant, but not particularly unique in any sense. One could find virtually the same information in any number of genetics textbooks, presented in largely the same way. A major problem here is that the filed is presented more or less historically with many of the experiments and concepts being described having little to no relevance to genetics today. This is a problem with many texts so I do not single this one out.

Clarity rating: 4

As with many open source texts, this one suffers from substandard figures, which directly influences clarity. The words on the age are fine, but the adage is true-a picture can be worth a thousand words. The mainstream publishers spent a lot of money on figures and it shows--they can be really good.

Consistency rating: 4

No comments here.

Modularity rating: 4

There seem to be appropriate and logical chapter and section breaks.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 3

The flow is the same as nearly any other genetics textbook. It suffers from a rigid historical framework. Better than most at Muller's morphs however!

Interface rating: 5

No problems here. I do really like the integrated you tube links. I did not dive into the content of those videos (beyond the scope of my review), but the fact that they are there in abundance is a good use of the open source approach.

Grammatical Errors rating: 5

No problems here.

Cultural Relevance rating: 3

No comment.

A very timely section on SARS-Cov-2 at the end! Rich with study questions and answers. Genetics is and should be very problem based, so this is good. I appreciate what is being offered here and I understand the market. There is nothing "wrong" with this textbook. There is also no wow factor that would cause me to adopt it at this time.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1- Mendel's First Law and Meiosis
  • Chapter 2- Mendel's Second Law: Independent Assortment
  • Chapter 3- The Cell Cycle and Mitosis
  • Chapter 4- Pedigree Analysis
  • Chapter 5- The Complementation Test
  • Chapter 6- Alleles at a Single Locus
  • Chapter 7- The Central Dogma- Mutations and Biochemical Pathways
  • Chapter 8- Gene Interactions 
  • Chapter 9- Linkage and Recombination Frequency
  • Chapter 10- Sex Chromosomes & Sex Linkage
  • Chapter 11- Recombination Mapping of Gene Loci
  • Chapter 12- Physical Mapping of Chromosomes and Genomes
  • Chapter 13- Genes and COVID-19 Susceptibility in Humans 

Ancillary Material

About the book.

Genetics, otherwise known as the Science of Heredity, is the study of biological information, and how this information is stored, replicated, transmitted and used by subsequent generations. The study of genetics can be sub-divided into three main areas: Transmission Genetics, Molecular Genetics, and Population Genetics. In this Introductory text, the focus is on Transmission or Classical Genetics, which deals with the basic principles of heredity and the mechanisms by which traits are passed from one generation to the next. The work of Gregor Mendel is central to Transmission Genetics; as such, there is a discussion about the pioneering work performed by him along with Mendel’s Laws, as they pertain to inheritance. Other aspects of Classical Genetics are covered, including the relationship between chromosomes and heredity, the arrangement of genes on chromosomes, and the physical mapping of genes.

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Natasha Ramroop Singh , Thompson Rivers University

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Best Genetics Books for Scientists, Science Lovers, and Bookworms

Best Genetics Books for Scientists, Science Lovers, and Bookworms

We are currently in an era of genetic revolution. Genome engineering technology has the potential to impact every industry known to us and change the world we live in. Whether you are looking for an introductory genomics book or a more in-depth understanding of the latest scientific breakthrough like CRISPR , we’ve got you covered.  

We have shortlisted the top books in this genre with topics ranging from DNA structure to human evolution. Check out our recommendations below to help you better understand genomics, from A to T! 

Ranging from fiction to nonfiction, we have compiled a list of books written by pioneers in this field. We have provided a brief summary of each book below to help you pick your favorite— but be warned that you might find it hard to stop with just one!

Best Books on Genetics & DNA Sequencing

Whether you are a scientist or just a bookworm, these genomics books will have you hooked! We have compiled a list of the best non-fiction books on genetics and DNA.

A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution

best book to review genetics

Author: Jennifer Doudna & Samuel H. Sternberg Published: 2017 Main Science Topic: Genetics, DNA Required Science Background: Some knowledge needed

The $1,000 Genome: The Revolution in DNA Sequencing and the New Era of Personalized Medicine

best book to review genetics

Author: Kevin Davies Published: 2010 Main Science Topic: Medicine, Genetics Required Science Background: No background needed

In this book, Davies discusses how private, personalized genomics companies like 23AndMe and Ancestry.com are changing the way we look at our health and how they could revolutionize the healthcare industry. What information could you gain from a DNA sequencing service? Are you ready for the era of personalized medicine? Find out through reading this informative genome book!

The Epigenetics Revolution

best book to review genetics

Author: Nessa Carey Published: 2013 Main Science Topic: Genetics Required Science Background: Some knowledge needed

Looking at DNA alone doesn't tell us enough about how an organism behaves and interacts with its environment. Carey, an epigenetics researcher, details how epigenetics can change the way we look at organisms. This brilliant epigenetics book is a must read for anyone wanting to learn more about this topic.

Concepts of Genetics

best book to review genetics

Author: William S. Klug, Michael R. Cummings, & Charlotte A. Spencer Published: 2005 Main Science Topic: Genetics Required Science Background: No background needed

This is one of the best genetics textbooks you can find, as it covers all concepts of genetics related to medicine, zoology, agriculture, and more. Through engaging explanations and accompanying visuals, this book teaches the foundations of genetics in a thoughtful, clear, and interesting manner and is a great source of information for those looking to learn about genetics in a textbook format.

Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves

best book to review genetics

Author: George Church and Ed Regis Published: 2014 Main Science Topic: Genetics Required Science Background: Some knowledge needed

George Church and Ed Regis dive into the world of synthetic biology in this book, explaining how altering genomes of organisms could allow for the creation of new species. This powerful technology could vastly improve life for humanity if used correctly.

This book moves away from the basics to venture deep into the upcoming field of synthetic biology, discussing the present status of the field and the future implications of altering substantial portions of genomes on various aspects of human life. Pick this up for an up-to-date summary of the present and future of synthetic biology.

Editing Humanity: The CRISPR Revolution and the New Era of Genome Editing

best book to review genetics

In Editing Humanity, the author Kevin Davies takes us into the fascinating world of genome editing through CRISPR, one of the most important breakthroughs in modern science. He also raises questions about the ethical considerations and sheds light on the implications this technology could have on our future generations.

Best Books on History of Genetics

From the discovery of the double helix in 1953 to the era of CRISPR technology, we’ve come a long way. These books will take you on a journey of discoveries, inventions, and more in the field of genetic engineering.

Saxons, Vikings, and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland

best book to review genetics

Author: Bryan Sykes Published: 2007 Main Science Topic: Genetics Required Science Background: Some knowledge needed

Sykes conducted a decade-long DNA survey and his book, Saxons, Vikings, and Celts, is the culmination of this study. This book provides information on the genetic history of those from the British Isles.

The Gene: An Intimate History

best book to review genetics

Author: Siddhartha Mukherjee Published: 2016 Main Science Topic: Genetics Required Science Background: Some knowledge needed

Mukherjee covers the fascinating history of genetics from the time when the gene was simply “a ghost lurking in the biological machine” to modern-day genomics. Learn about how heredity works, how genetics result in various traits, and how those traits affect our lives in the real world.

If you’re interested in genetic engineering history, check out this comprehensive timeline on the history of gene editing .

The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry

best book to review genetics

Author: Bryan Sykes Published: 2002 Main Science Topic: Genetics Required Science Background: Some knowledge needed

The Seven Daughters of Eve reveals how a certain strand of DNA allowed Bryan Sykes to trace European humans' genetic makeup back to seven primeval women, referred to as the "seven daughters of Eve." This is quite an interesting read, proving the power of DNA to connect us to our history.

The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life

best book to review genetics

Author: David Quammen Published: 2018 Main Science Topic: Genetics and Molecular biology Required Science Background: No background needed

In The Tangled Tree , the author David Quammen, takes us through a web of stories that chronicle the discoveries in molecular biology through the lives of the scientists that made them. This book is a brilliantly written book that takes us on a deep intellectual adventure about our own existence.

Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity

best book to review genetics

Author: Jamie Metzl

Published: 2019

Main Science Topic: Genetic Engineering

Required Science Background: Some knowledge needed

Hacking Darwin is a brilliantly written book by Jamie Metzl about the many ways genetic-engineering is shaking the foundations of our lives―sex, war, love, and death. He takes us into an exploration of the future, into a world where we can engineer children, build life from scratch, and recreate the flora and fauna around us, and raises questions about the ethical implications of these scenarios.

Top Books on Human Evolution

How did life evolve? What is DNA and how did it change with the evolving life? Curious to know the answers to these questions and more? Check out these amazing books on the history of genetics and human evolution.

Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life

best book to review genetics

Author: J. Craig Venter Published: 2014 Main Science Topic: Evolution Required Science Background: Some knowledge needed

Venter details his journey of creating a synthetic genome and introducing it to the genetic sequence of a bacterium. This book also touches on what our future may look like with the potential for completely synthetic organisms. This one of the best books on evolution. Read it to learn how the digital world is colliding with biology and how this could affect us.

The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution

best book to review genetics

Author: Gregory Cochran & Henry Harpending Published: 2009 Main Science Topic: Evolution Required Science Background: Some knowledge needed

Cochran details many of the genetic changes that have appeared in humans within the last 10,000 years. He argues that genetic traits like lactose intolerance, blue eyes, and even resistance to certain diseases have emerged in relatively recent history, rather than 40-50 thousand years ago as previously purported.

She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity

best book to review genetics

Author: Carl Zimmer Published: 2018 Main Science Topic: Evolution Required Science Background: Some knowledge needed

A glimpse into the mysterious unknown beckons us all. Consider the number of people curious about the details of their ancestry, contributing to the thriving economy of personal genomics companies such as 23andMe and Ancestry.com. If at some point you too have wondered about the meaning of inheritance and what traits are you passing on to your kids, you will find this book interesting.

Zimmer himself was motivated by this concept following the birth of his daughter. He explains, “I had willingly become a conduit for heredity, allowing the biological past to make its way into the future. And yet I had no idea of what I was passing on.” In his book, Zimmer talks about royal blood lines, basics of genetics and epigenetics, and surprising revelations of children passing traits to their mothers.

If that’s not enough material to lure any science enthusiast into reading the book, we don’t know what is! We recently wrote a more in-depth review of Zimmer's book and chatted with him about his views on genomics and genome engineering. Read more about She Has Her Mother's Laugh .

The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene

best book to review genetics

Author: Richard Dawkins Published: 1999 Main Science Topic: Evolution Required Science Background: No background needed

In this book, Dawkins suggests that looking at evolution from a genetic perspective will change our view of phenotypes—the end result of genetic combinations for things like eye color in humans, or leaf shapes in plants. Genes are constantly fighting for "survival of the fittest" in organisms, and this molecular genetics book explains how that works. This is one of the best science non-fiction books you can find, so don’t miss it!

The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design

best book to review genetics

Author: Richard Dawkins Published: 1986 Main Science Topic: Evolution, Genetics Required Science Background: No background needed

In another great book from Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker dives into the fact that blind genetics creates humanity, where no two humans are exactly identical, as we all have a unique genetic makeup. This population genetics book touches on topics of evolution, natural selection, and more.

  The Origin of Species

best book to review genetics

Author: Charles Darwin Published:  1859 Main Science Topic: Evolution Required Science Background: No background needed

The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin is a groundbreaking book on evolutionary biology. It introduces the theory of evolution and explains the process of natural selection. This book is as controversial as it can get because it contradicts the theory of creation, but it is also one of the most important scientific books ever written.

A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes

best book to review genetics

Author: Adam Rutherford Published: 2016 Main Science Topic: Evolution Required Science Background: No background needed

In this book, the author Adam Rutherford shows us that in our genomes we each carry the history of our species - births, deaths, disease, war, famine, and many other significant events. He tells us that our DNA determines less about us as individuals, but more about us as a species. Through this brilliant book, Rutherford demystifies and illuminates a new portrait of who we are and how we came to be—from Neanderthals to murder, from redheads to race, dead kings to plague, and from evolution to epigenetics.

The Selfish Gene

best book to review genetics

Since it was published over 40 years ago, The Selfish Gene has become a classic elucidation of evolutionary thought. In this book, the author Richard Dawkins portrays a gene's eye view of evolution - a view in which organisms are seen as vehicles for their replication. This creative, powerful, and brilliant work has brought the insights of Neo-Darwinism to a large audience and has stimulated whole new areas of research.

Biographies And Autobiographies In The Field of Genetics

Aspiring to be a scientist? Or maybe the lives of scientists and their paths to groundbreaking discoveries have always fascinated you. Whatever your reason might be, these biographies will not disappoint!

What Mad Pursuit

best book to review genetics

Author: Francis Crick Published: 1988 Main Science Topic: DNA, Biography Required Science Background: No background needed

In this book, DNA co-discoverer Francis Crick writes about his experiences in the discovery of DNA in the 1950s as a double helix as well as his work on the genetic code a decade later. This is a widely read memoir from the eyes of a Nobel Prize-winning scientist .

Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

best book to review genetics

Author: Matt Ridley Published: 2006 Main Science Topic: Genetics Required Science Background: Some knowledge needed

Learn about each of the 23 chromosome pairs in humans by reading this informative biography. Each chapter explains information about a different chromosome and the genes they carry.

The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race

best book to review genetics

Author: Walter Isaacson

Published: 2021

Main Science Topic: Biography

The Code Breaker is a brilliant biography of the recent Nobel Prize winner, Jennifer Doudna that takes us through a journey of how this incredible scientist and her colleagues launched a revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, fend off viruses, and have healthier babies. Walter Isaacson, delves into one of the most groundbreaking biological technologies of our times and the dedicated scientists who helped birth it. This book is releasing on March 9th, 2021, so don’t forget to grab your copy as soon as it hits the shelves.

Gene Machine: The Race to Decipher the Secrets of the Ribosome

best book to review genetics

Author: Venki Ramakrishnan

Main Science Topic: Autobiography

This book is a brilliantly written memoir of the author Venki Ramakrishnan and his race to uncover the ribosome’s enormously complex structure. Even though he initially intended to become a theoretical physicist, he soon became fascinated with biology. In this book, he walks us through his unlikely journey- from initially fumbling with experiments in a biology lab to eventually being at the center of an academic race to describe the structure of a ribosome, and how, in the process, he landed a shared Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Best Genetics Fiction Books

Non-fiction is not your cup of tea? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered. Check out some of the best fiction books on genetics below. Learning about science has never been more fun!

best book to review genetics

Author: Michael Crichton Published: 2008 Main Science Topic: Genetics Required Science Background: Some knowledge needed

This novel touches on futuristic genetic conditions, rarities, and treatments. Crichton uses several stories weaved together to present the progress, problems, and possibilities of genetics, creating an interesting, thought-provoking, awesome read for genetics enthusiasts.

Fear Nothing

best book to review genetics

Author: Dean Koontz Published: 2012 Main Science Topic: Medicine Required Science Background: No background needed

In this fictional tale, best-selling author Dean Koontz writes about a character with a genetic disorder that makes his body incredibly sensitive to light. He must face this condition by avoiding the sun during the day and going out only at night. He witnesses some strange incidents and ends up caught up solving a mystery.

Now that you have your genetics reading list set, we’ll get working on the next one! If you like consuming different formats of media, be sure to check out our list of the best science podcasts as well. We’ve also got the scoop on everything CRISPR news if you’re looking for the latest updates in the field!

Let us know which book on our list was your favorite, and make sure to contact us to highlight any great books we missed! Send us your feedback to [email protected] or drop a line on Twitter and we might add your suggestions to our reading list!

Amanda Mah, Ph.D.

Amanda is the Creative Communications Manager at Synthego where she has fun using every Adobe program possible. She is fueled by unhealthy amounts of coffee and oat milk. In her free time, you can find her painting, binge-watching food shows on TV, or going to as many baseball games as she can.

best book to review genetics

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15 Books about Genetics for National DNA Day

April 25th is National DNA Day! While I don't have much expertise or experience in science and medicine, I've always been fascinated by DNA and genetics. And thankfully, there are plenty of really great books that tell compelling stories and that break DNA down into bits (Ts, As, Cs, and Gs) that can be understood by non-experts. More recent news stories will tell you about how the CRISPR gene-editing technology has been used to develop Covid-19 testing and vaccines. 

3 book covers

The Gene: An Intimate History   by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Presents a history of gene science that examines current debates about gene resequencing, tracing the author's family experiences with mental illness and the contributions of key scientists and philosophers. Mukherjee's other book (also phenomenal), The Emperor of All Maladies , focuses on cancer but also looks at the development of gene therapies as a possible treatment. 

A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived   by Adam Rutherford

A science writer and broadcaster with a background in genetics reveals what our genes can tell us about history and how unraveling the human genome has shattered deeply held beliefs about our heritage and identities.

The Philadelphia Chromosome: A Mutant Gene and the Quest to Cure Cancer at the Genetic Level by Jessica Wapner

Discusses the history of a genetic mutation, discovered in 1959, that causes chronic myeloid leukemia, and traces the research and breakthroughs that led to the creation of a drug that makes this once-fatal illness now treatable.

3 book covers

The Social Life of DNA   by Alondra Nelson

Genetic genealogy is a new tool for addressing old and enduring issues related to race. This book explains how cutting-edge DNA-based techniques are being used in myriad ways, including grappling with the unfinished business of slavery: to foster reconciliation, to establish ties with African ancestral homelands, to rethink and sometimes alter citizenship, and to make legal claims for slavery reparations specifically based on ancestry.

The Violinist's Thumb   by Sam Kean

An exploration of human DNA and the stories it can tell describes how genes can explain why JFK's skin was bronze, Einstein was a genius, and why people with exceptional thumb flexibility can become world-class violinists. Kean's vibrant storytelling once again makes science entertaining, explaining human history and whimsy while showing how DNA will influence our species' future.

One in a Billion by Mark Johnson and Kathleen Gallagher

A full-length medical narrative by two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists traces the scientific breakthroughs surrounding a Wisconsin youth whose mysterious illness was cured through unprecedented gene sequencing.

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The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race by Walter Isaacson

A portrait of the Nobel Prize-winning scientist explores the impact of James Watson's The Double Helix on her career and how her team's invention of CRISPR technology enabled revolutionary DNA-editing approaches to fighting disease.

Gene Machine   by Venki Ramakrishnan

Everyone has heard of DNA. But by itself, DNA is just an inert blueprint for life. It is the ribosome—an enormous molecular machine made up of a million atoms—that makes DNA come to life, turning our genetic code into proteins and therefore into us. This book is an insider account of the race for the structure of the ribosome, a fundamental discovery that both advances our knowledge of all life and could lead to the development of better antibiotics against life-threatening diseases. 

Inside the Cell: The Dark Side of Forensic DNA   by Erin E. Murphy

We think of DNA forensics as an infallible science that catches the bad guys and exonerates the innocent. But when the science goes rogue, it can lead to a gross miscarriage of justice. Erin Murphy exposes the dark side of forensic DNA testing: crime labs that receive little oversight and produce inconsistent results; prosecutors who push to test smaller and poorer-quality samples, inviting error and bias; law-enforcement officers who compile massive, unregulated, and racially skewed DNA databases; and industry lobbyists who push policies of "stop and spit."

3 book covers

The Language of Life   by Francis S. Collins

Collins presents cutting-edge science for lay readers who want to take control of their medical lives. He discusses cancer, obesity, aging, racial differences, and a host ofother concerns, as well as the medical advances directly attributable to the Human Genome Project. He is also not shy about taking on large political issues: he points out problems with our current health-care system, discusses stem-cell research, and ina cogent commentary, recommends—with caveats—direct-to-consumer DNA testing. He does a superb job of humanizing a complex scientific and medical subject.

DNA: The Story of the Genetic Revolution by James D. Watson

The Nobel laureate whose pioneering work helped unlock the mystery of DNA's structure charts the greatest scientific journey of our time, from the discovery of the double helix to today's controversies to what the future may hold. Updated to include new findings in gene editing, epigenetics, agricultural chemistry, as well as two entirely new chapters on personal genomics and cancer research.

The Making of the Fittest by Sean B. Carroll

A geneticist discusses the role of DNA in the evolution of life on Earth, explaining how an analysis of DNA reveals a complete record of the events that have shaped each species and how it provides evidence of the validity of the theory of evolution.

3 book covers

FICTION: Blood World by Chris Mooney

In a world where people with a rare gene are kidnapped for their blood's wonder-cure abilities, an LAPD officer fighting the activities of illegal blood farms is pitted against a madman who has modified healing blood to unstoppable levels.

FICTION:  Genesis by Robin Cook

Investigating the suspicious death of a social worker, Chief New York City Medical Examiner Laurie Montgomery makes the controversial decision to use genealogic DNA databases to identify a mysterious killer. 

FICTION:  Dahlia Black by Keith Thomas

For fans of  World War Z  and the Southern Reach Trilogy , a suspenseful oral history commemorating the five-year anniversary of the Pulse - the alien code that hacked the DNA of Earth's population—and the response team who faced the world-changing phenomenon.

And a bonus title, lest you think that we forgot about it!

Jurassic Park book cover

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by Michael Crichton

An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Now humankind's most thrilling fantasies have come true. Creatures extinct for eons roam Jurassic Park with their awesome presence and profound mystery, and all the world can visit them—for a price. Until something goes wrong. . . .

Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

Summaries provided via NYPL’s catalog, which draws from multiple sources. Click through to each book’s title for more.

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The best books on Eugenics , recommended by Philippa Levine

In the name of eugenics: genetics and the uses of human heredity by daniel kevles, the nazi connection: eugenics, american racism, and german national socialism by stefan kuhl, eugenic nation: faults and frontiers of better breeding in modern america by alexandra minna stern, the hour of eugenics: race, gender, and nation in latin america by nancy leys stepan, heredity and hope: the case for genetic screening by ruth schwartz cowan.

The term 'eugenics' elicits queasiness amongst those who associate it with the Nazis. But Winston Churchill, George Bernard Shaw and Margaret Sanger were among its many proponents in the interwar period. Why? Philippa Levine , professor of history at the University of Texas, explains.

The term ‘eugenics’ elicits queasiness amongst those who associate it with the Nazis. But Winston Churchill, George Bernard Shaw and Margaret Sanger were among its many proponents in the interwar period. Why? Philippa Levine, professor of history at the University of Texas, explains.

The best books on Cultural Evolution , recommended by Joseph Henrich

The selfish gene by richard dawkins, not by genes alone: how culture transformed human evolution by peter j. richerson & robert boyd, guns, germs and steel by jared diamond, the creation of inequality: how our prehistoric ancestors set the stage for monarchy, slavery, and empire by joyce marcus & kent flannery, the cultural origins of human cognition by michael tomasello.

What role did culture play in human evolution? Why did human brains get so big so quickly? When and why did inequality first emerge in human society? Harvard professor and author Joe Henrich picks some of the best books for understanding 'cultural evolution.'

What role did culture play in human evolution? Why did human brains get so big so quickly? When and why did inequality first emerge in human society? Harvard professor and author Joe Henrich picks some of the best books for understanding ‘cultural evolution.’

The best books on Racism , recommended by Kurt Barling

The open society and its enemies by karl popper, black skin, white masks by frantz fanon, the language of genes by steve jones, the ordeal of integration by orlando patterson, the ethics of identity by kwame anthony appiah.

The concept of 'race' is misleading and inaccurate, argues Kurt Barling , Professor of Journalism at the University of Middlesex and author of The R Word: Racism and Modern Society . He recommends the best books to think about racism.

The concept of ‘race’ is misleading and inaccurate, argues Kurt Barling, Professor of Journalism at the University of Middlesex and author of The R Word: Racism and Modern Society . He recommends the best books to think about racism.

The Best Biology Books , recommended by Sean B Carroll

The eighth day of creation: makers of the revolution in biology by horace freeland judson, darwin: the life of a tormented evolutionist by adrian desmond & james moore, the man who found the missing link by pat shipman, the statue within: an autobiography by francois jacob, the song of the dodo by david quammen.

What do molecules in a cell have in common with lions in the Serengeti? They all follow rules, says scientist and author Sean B Carroll . He chooses the best books on biology, from the death of the dodo to the discovery of DNA.

What do molecules in a cell have in common with lions in the Serengeti? They all follow rules, says scientist and author Sean B Carroll. He chooses the best books on biology, from the death of the dodo to the discovery of DNA.

The best books on Extinction and De-Extinction , recommended by Beth Shapiro

The diversity of life by edward o. wilson, the cave bear story by björn kurtén, last chance to see by douglas adams & mark carwardine, the making of the fittest by sean b carroll, the sixth extinction by elizabeth kolbert.

Evolutionary biologist Beth Shapiro tells us why it's impossible to clone a mammoth, and why we might want to. She guides us through five inspiring books to get us thinking about extinction and the role genetics could potentially play in maintaining biodiversity.

Evolutionary biologist Beth Shapiro tells us why it’s impossible to clone a mammoth, and why we might want to. She guides us through five inspiring books to get us thinking about extinction and the role genetics could potentially play in maintaining biodiversity.

The best books on The Strangeness of Life , recommended by Carl Zimmer

Mutants by armand marie leroi, the immortal life of henrietta lacks by rebecca skloot, the machinery of life by david s. goodsell, the flamingo's smile by stephen jay gould, the extended phenotype by richard dawkins.

The science writer and award-winning blogger Carl Zimmer discusses the strangeness of life, from viruses to manipulative flatworms

The best books on Sperm , recommended by Tim Birkhead

Biologische untersuchungen (die spermien der vogel) by gustaf retzius, behavioural ecology by j.r. krebs (editor), n.b. davies (editor), sperm competition and the evolution of animal mating systems by robert l. smith (editor), female control by william eberhard, sperm competition and its evolutionary consequences in the insects by leigh w. simmons.

Professor Tim Birkhead is one of the pioneers of spermatology. He explains how promiscuous females can be selective about sperm, even after multiple inseminations

The best books on Men and Women , recommended by Satoshi Kanazawa

The essential difference by simon baron-cohen, the evolution of desire by david m buss, biology at work by kingsley r browne, the sexual paradox by susan pinker, genes, girls, and gamow by james d watson.

The differences between men and women are innate, argues the evolutionary psychologist, and men's relative success in the workplace a reflection of desire rather than discrimination.

The differences between men and women are innate, argues the evolutionary psychologist, and men’s relative success in the workplace a reflection of desire rather than discrimination.

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10 Best Genetics Books of All Time

Our goal : Find the best Genetics books according to the internet (not just one random person's opinion).

  • Type "best genetics books" into our search engine and study the top 5+ pages.
  • Add only the books mentioned 2+ times.
  • Rank the results neatly for you here! 😊 (It was a lot of work. But hey! That's why we're here, right?)

(Updated 2024)

As an Amazon Associate, we earn money from purchases made through links in this page.

Last Updated: Monday 1 Jan, 2024

  • Best Genetics Books

Concepts of Genetics

Concepts of Genetics

William Klug

Genetics

Analysis and Principles

Robert Brooker

The Selfish Gene

The Selfish Gene

Richard Dawkins

The Gene

An Intimate History

Siddhartha Mukherjee

The Code Breaker

The Code Breaker

Jennifer doudna, gene editing, and the future of the human race.

Walter Isaacson

Next

Michael Crichton

A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived

A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived

The human story retold through our genes.

Adam Rutherford

Gene Machine

Gene Machine

The race to decipher the secrets of the ribosome.

Venki Ramakrishnan

Medical Genetics

Medical Genetics

Lynn B. Jorde PhD

Emery's Elements of Medical Genetics

Emery's Elements of Medical Genetics

Peter Turnpenny

  • 10 Great Books on Genetics | Science Book a Day sciencebookaday.com
  • 15 Books about Genetics for National DNA Day | The New York Public Library www.nypl.org
  • Synthego | Full Stack Genome Engineering www.synthego.com
  • Site Offline www.immunofrontiers.com
  • Top 12 Best Genetics Textbooks | Best Genetics Books | Biology Explorer www.bioexplorer.net

How was this Genetics books list created?

We searched for 'best Genetics books', found the top 5 articles, took every book mentioned in 2+ articles, and averaged their rankings.

How many Genetics books are in this list?

There are 10 books in this list.

Why did you create this Genetics books list?

We wanted to gather the most accurate list of Genetics books on the internet.

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COMMENTS

  1. 20 Best Genetics Books of All Time

    Fascinating. Insightful. #19 Best Seller in Genetics on Amazon. Named Best Book of 2021 by Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Time, and The Washington Post. 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry Winner: Jennifer Doudna. Recommended by Bill Gates, Tomasz Tunguz , Christiane Amanpour and 4 others. Bill Gates.WalterIsaacson is one of my favorite authors.

  2. Top 12 Best Genetics Textbooks

    Concepts of Genetics. Authors: Klug W.S., et al. The first best genetics textbook in this listing is the 12th edition of a very popular genetics textbook. This book is one of the best genetics textbooks that is intended for undergraduate students and covers the main concepts and ideas of Genetics, as well as more current research and discoveries.

  3. 20 Best Genetics eBooks of All Time

    The 20 best genetics ebooks recommended by Bill Gates, Nature, Kirkus, Carl Zimmer, Hunter Walk, Preston Pysh, Rodger Novak and George Lucas. ... #10 Best Seller in Genetics on Amazon; Named Best Book of 2021 by Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Time, and The Washington Post ... Los Angeles Review of Books. In 2018 the world woke up to gene editing with ...

  4. 20 best books on genetics

    by Siddhartha Mukherjee. If you have ever wondered about the intricate workings of life, the hidden secrets that make us who we are, then "The Gene: An Intimate History" is the book you need. Siddhartha Mukherjee, in this captivating masterpiece, takes us on a journey deep into the mysterious world of genetics.

  5. 11 Best Books on Genetics

    Best Books on Genetics Dive into the code of life with these critically acclaimed books on genetics. Each title is a standout recommendation across respected literary and science publications, ranked by appearance frequency. Recommendations from 11 articles, Bill Gates, John Legend, Paul Graham and 30 others.

  6. Best books about genetics

    Here is a list of the nine best books about genetics: "The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin. Charles Darwin, who took his long flowing beard on the Beagle to the Galapagos Islands in 1835, found that several species of finches adapted to different environmental niches, and used this information to develop his theory of evolution.

  7. 20 Best Genetic Engineering Books of All Time

    Finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize. One of Science News' Favorite Books of the Year. Recommended by Arianna Huffington, George Church, George Lucas and 11 others. Arianna HuffingtonA Crack in Creation, by one of the most pioneering women in science, is both exhilarating and frightening.

  8. Introduction to Genetics

    Genetics, otherwise known as the Science of Heredity, is the study of biological information, and how this information is stored, replicated, transmitted and used by subsequent generations. The study of genetics can be sub-divided into three main areas: Transmission Genetics, Molecular Genetics, and Population Genetics. In this Introductory text, the focus is on Transmission or Classical ...

  9. Best Genetics Books for Scientists, Science Lovers, and Bookworms

    Best Books on History of Genetics. 03. Top Books on Human Evolution. 04. Biographies And Autobiographies In The Field of Genetics. 05. Best Genetics Fiction Books. Best Genetics Books for Scientists, Science Lovers, and Bookworms. Get the Print Version Download a PDF for easier offline reading and sharing with colleagues.

  10. Five Best: Books on Genetics

    BEST OF Books & Arts in Review. The Best Books of March. Spring Cookbooks 'Taming the Octopus' and 'The Race to Zero' Review. The 10 Best Books of 2023. ... Five Best: Books on Genetics.

  11. Best Popular Genetics Books on Goodreads

    The requirements for this list are pretty clear - 500 ratings and shelved at least 10 times as genetics. The Angel Experiment has been shelved 20 times as genetics. As compared to Facing Reality: Two Truths about Race in America - shelved 0 as genetics. And Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class - shelved only 8 times as genetics

  12. 15 Books about Genetics for National DNA Day

    The Violinist's Thumb by Sam Kean. An exploration of human DNA and the stories it can tell describes how genes can explain why JFK's skin was bronze, Einstein was a genius, and why people with exceptional thumb flexibility can become world-class violinists. Kean's vibrant storytelling once again makes science entertaining, explaining human ...

  13. Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

    I really enjoyed this book. I would say it is so far the best book I have read this year and a great introduction to genetics. Quite a lot of the stuff in this book has been covered in other books I have read, most notably by Richard Dawkins, however the writing was fresh and I learned a hell of a lot of stuff throughout this book.

  14. Genetics

    The best books on Extinction and De-Extinction, recommended by Beth Shapiro. Evolutionary biologist Beth Shapiro tells us why it's impossible to clone a mammoth, and why we might want to. She guides us through five inspiring books to get us thinking about extinction and the role genetics could potentially play in maintaining biodiversity.

  15. 10 Best Genetics Books (Definitive Ranking)

    10 Best. Genetics. Books of All Time. Our goal: Find the best Genetics books according to the internet (not just one random person's opinion). Type "best genetics books" into our search engine and study the top 5+ pages. Add only the books mentioned 2+ times. (It was a lot of work.

  16. Amazon Best Sellers: Best Genetics

    21 offers from $13.38. #13. Thompson & Thompson Genetics in Medicine (Thompson and Thompson Genetics in Medicine) Robert L. Nussbaum MD FACP FACMG. 205. Paperback. 51 offers from $11.67. #14. Emery and Rimoin's Principles and Practice of Medical Genetics and Genomics: Cardiovascular, Respiratory, and Gastrointestinal Disorders.

  17. Genetics Books

    Open Syllabus Genetics Books. 89 books — 1 voter. Biology. 160 books — 24 voters. Best Popular Genetics Books on Goodreads. 107 books — 57 voters. Genetics for Non-Scientists. 65 books — 55 voters. Genetics genre: new releases and popular books, including The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race ...

  18. What Book do you recommend reading on genetics for a beginner??

    Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters by Matt Ridley is a great read! If you're interested in understanding genetics from an evolution (particularly by natural selection) standpoint, I always recommend Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene. It's one of the best popular science books written in my opinion.

  19. 9 Must-Have Books About Genetic Genealogy

    Authors: Blaine T. Bettinger & Debbie Parker Wayne. Description: Genetic Genealogy in Practice, the first workbook on genetic genealogy, provides family historians and genealogists who have just begun to explore genetic genealogy practical, easy-to-understand information that they can apply to their research.

  20. Genetics Best Books

    avg rating 3.84 — 1,343 ratings — published 2007. Books shelved as genetics-best: The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Rac...

  21. Global trends and themes in genetic counseling research

    Introduction. The term "genetic counseling" was first coined by an American scientist, Sheldon C. Reed, in 1947 [].According to the Ad Hoc Committee of the American Society of Human Genetics, genetic counseling addresses human issues related to the incidence or risk of a genetic disorder in a family [].Seymour Kessler later defined genetic counseling as psychological contact or ...

  22. 20 Best Genomics Books of All Time

    The 20 best genomics books recommended by Bill Gates, John Holland, George Lucas, George Church, Kirkus Reviews and others.