Mapping Humanity: How Modern Genetics Is Changing Criminal Justice, Personalized Medicine, and Our Identities (Paperback)

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"A good companion for those with a science background interested in learning more about human genetics."
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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 nearly $3 billion; 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 Changing Criminal Justice, Personalized Medicine, and Our Identities, 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
   • Facts you should know about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) 


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.

About the Author


Dr. Joshua Z. Rappoport received a bachelor's degree in Biology from Brown University and then went on to earn a PhD from the Program in Mechanisms of Disease and Therapeutics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine Graduate School of Biological Sciences of New York University. Following defense of his thesis Dr. Rappoport went on to perform 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 England.

In 2014, Dr. Rappoport returned to the United States to become the Director of the Center for Advanced Microscopy and Nikon Imaging Center at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and a faculty member in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. Starting in March 2019, Dr. Rappoport took on the role of Executive Director of Research Infrastructure at Boston College, where he is now working to assist with strategic organization and operations in the core facility program at BC. Dr. Rappoport lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with his wife Ema, a neuroscientist, and their dog Kris.

Praise For…


“In Mapping Humanity, Joshua takes readers on a journey through the fascinating field of genetics. This book weaves together key scientific background information, exciting real-world applications, and important ethical issues in an accessible and engaging way.”

Marie McNeely, PhD, cofounder of People Behind the Science and Unfold Productions 

“This book will serve as a very current and approachable way for the public to better understand this very interesting time in genetics and genomics, where the combination of sequencing and DNA manipulation technologies has brought us, while revealing the ethical and societal impacts.”

Elaine Mardis, coexecutive director of the Institute for Genomic Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Product Details
ISBN: 9781950665082
ISBN-10: 1950665089
Publisher: BenBella Books
Publication Date: July 7th, 2020
Pages: 336
Language: English