Wasn’t it enough that I read Nessa Carey’s terrible Junk DNA book? It scarred me, it did. But there’s another one out, John Parrington’s The Deeper Genome: Why there is more to the human genome than meets the eye, and no, I REFUSE TO READ IT. I have been reading Larry Moran’s multi-part evisceration of Parrington, though. It’s spectacularly gory. There are bits of Oxford lecturer in pharmacology spattered all over the place.
I am totally mystified by all these educated people who are completely lacking in basic knowledge of the field they are writing books about. And weirdly, this book got a positive review in Nature!
A scientist and journalist, Parrington covered the ENCODE story for The Times in 2012; his book enriches those accounts with historical and scientific context. The science is better than the history. He provides a fine discussion of recent support for McClintock’s often-overlooked late work on how stress can activate transposition, but he perpetuates the myth that at first no one thought transposition was real. The contested point was actually McClintock’s interpretation of mobile elements as controllers of gene action. Parrington’s strongest chapters survey the emerging view of gene regulation, including DNA folding, epigenetics and regulatory RNA. Overall, this is a faithful, engaging portrait of the twenty-first-century genome.
Jaw dropped. WTF flag fully deployed. Eyes rolled back so far they’re peeping out my ears.
Read Larry’s arguments. If you have trouble following them, though, don’t worry: apparently that means you’re fully qualified to be hired by Oxford University!