Books : reviews

Matthew Cobb.
Life's Greatest Secret: the race to crack the genetic code.
Profile Books. 2015

In the middle of the twentieth century, a succession of inspired insights, theoretical breakthroughs and ingenious experiments led to discoveries that revolutionised science and changed our understanding of life. This was the cracking of the genetic code which underpins the biology of every living thing. lnterweaving science, biography and anecdote, Matthew Cobb presents a thrilling, fast-paced account of the natural sciences’ greatest leap forward since Darwin.

In 1943, Erwin Schrödinger introduced the idea of a genetic code and jump-started a new era of research across the world. In Life’s Greatest Secret, Professor Cobb describes how some of the twentieth century’s most outstanding and most eccentric minds collaborated and competed in a race to discover the hidden mechanisms of life. Taking in ideas from computing and cybernetics as well as from physics, chemistry and biology, their research showed that the double helix structure of DNA contained a genetic code and led to the revelation of life’s greatest secret.