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In honor of summer, Genome Technology’s staff turned toward books that might make great beach reads. Here are a couple that won’t weigh down your tote bag.

Won for All: How the Drosophila Genome Was Sequenced

By Michael Ashburner

Described by the publisher as a “nonfiction novel,” Ashburner’s memoir-esque Won for All is aimed at people who were involved in, or at least intrigued by, the sequencing of the Drosophila genome. The book, roughly 100 pages, is the author’s cathartic tale of what he went through during this period (including memories of hotels, flights, and limo service) and the main text refers to most fellow participants by first name only. It’s an entertaining and quick read, but will likely be of interest mainly to people who are already fairly well acquainted with the field and events discussed.

Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor

Laboratory Press

Publication date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0879698020

When a Gene Makes You Smell Like a Fish … and Other Tales about the Genes in Your Body

By Lisa Seachrist Chiu

Chiu offers to take lay readers on an engaging road trip through the human genome with her debut book, pointing out sights both strange and fascinating along the way. The book’s title hearkens to the story of a woman who suffers from trimethylaminuria, a metabolic disorder determined by mutations in the FMO3 gene. Plenty more genes, mutations, and their consequences are deftly explained via Chiu’s anecdotal vignettes. Non-specialists will not only be entertained by a catalog of weird genes, but may also come away with a basic understanding of epigenetics, the HapMap project, and classic genetics.

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Publication date: May 1, 2006

ISBN: 0195169948

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