Book Review: Double Helix

Reading Level

Ages 9-12

Also in This Series

• Atomic Universe
• Killing Germs, Saving Lives
• An Invisible Force

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This entry in the ScienceQUEST series is much more readable than others in the series.

The book grounds the story of DNA in Gregor Mendel, the famous pea plant student who laid the foundation for later genetic work. Having Mendel in the story is vital, and the author does well to include it in good detail.

James Watson and Francis Crick are, of course, the stars of this story, and they are very well examined. The other two parts of the story, Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin, are not mentioned often enough. Again, credit to the author for including them, since their work with X-rays was vital to the eventuall Watson-Crick success and the overall discovery of the Double Helix.

The helpful in-book timeline has some innocuous entries as well as some totally applicable ones. The last two, DNA as evidence in criminal trials and the Human Genome Project, should have gotten more than just passing mention.

Overall, though, this book paints a solid picture of the scientific pursuit of DNA, its principals, and its primary concerns.

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David White