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The rapid progress in genomics and related technologies has increased interest in genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This concise and highly readable book equips the reader with essential information about what genes are, how they work, and how they can be modified and used in biotechnology. The book starts with a summary of the beginnings of life, the structure and components of living organisms, and an outline of genetic engineering. The coverage of human genetics spans race, human evolution and migration, the sex chromosomes, gene therapy, and forensic science. A separate chapter is devoted to the genetics and evolution of some of the major disease-causing organisms.On environmental genetics, the book considers the risks of releasing agricultural GM plants, as well as bioremediation and metal extraction by GM plants. Applications of genetic modification in agriculture - pest-resistant plants, herbicide resistance, and improved foods - are presented as part of a discussion on sustainable agriculture to emphasize the role played by GM plants in relation to chemicals, analytic techniques, and organic farming.