The most recommended genetics books

Who picked these books? Meet our 52 experts.

52 authors created a book list connected to genetics, and here are their favorite genetics books.
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Book cover of Patient Zero

Rachel Drummond Author Of The South Forsaken

From my list on ways to manage the end of the world.

Who am I?

My name is Rachel Drummond, and I've had a passion for reading since primary school. Drawn to the books where the protagonist finds themselves needing to survive on their own. My mum challenged me to actually try write something to publish and I finally took her up on this. I wanted to create a world that skates the edge of ‘this could happen’ and superimpose a fictional situation over a place that is so recognisable, that if you drove through the town, you could use the book as a map. I write because I enjoy it, and because sometimes you need to kill someone without getting your hands dirty.

Rachel's book list on ways to manage the end of the world

Rachel Drummond Why did Rachel love this book?

I pulled this book out not really expecting much, I had read so many zombie stories that they were all starting to blend together at this point. So I was pleasantly surprised to read a new take, a group of terrorists threatening to use a bioweapon to create a race of zombies. This had very few dead spots, plenty of human/human and human/zombie action to keep me interested while still showing humanity and the conflict of morals when you need to take a life. 

By Jonathan Maberry,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Patient Zero as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week, then there's either something wrong with your skills or something wrong with your world. And there's nothing wrong with my skills.' Police officer Joe Ledger, martial arts expert, ex-army, self-confessed brutal warrior is scared. The man he's just killed is the same man he killed a week ago. He never expected to see the man again, definitely not alive, and definitely not as part of the recruitment process for the hyper-secret government agency the Department for Military Sciences. But the DMS are scared too - they have word…


Book cover of The Art of Genes: How Organisms Make Themselves

Mark Burgess Author Of Smart Spacetime: How information challenges our ideas about space, time, and process

From my list on mind bending scientific discovery and courageous rethinking.

Who am I?

I am a scientist and technologist, trained in theoretical quantum physics, who became an Emeritus Professor of Network Technology from Oslo’s metropolitan university. I’ve strenuously tried to communicate the wonder of science to students and industry throughout my career. I’ve been privileged to know some of the great movers and shakers of science in my lifetime and it always gives me great pleasure to open someone’s mind to new ideas. These books have been an integral part of my own intellectual journey. I hope these recommendations will inspire the youngest and the oldest readers alike.

Mark's book list on mind bending scientific discovery and courageous rethinking

Mark Burgess Why did Mark love this book?

This little-known book is a beautifully written story of how spacetime processes explain the world of biology and morphology (organism development), using the analogy of mixing colours in a painting to explain how complex forms emerge from “simple" daubs of colour.

Coen explains ideas that go back to Alan Turing’s pioneering studies of biological processes, as well as computation, in a way that was highly influential to me as a scientist. Most of all this is a fine story that will stay with you for years to come written in a personal voice.

By Enrico Coen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Genes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Coen's book is spiced with historic quotations and examples of plants' and animals' intriguing behaviour contains a wealth of interesting material Coen communicates his immense learning with a hundred appealing tales'

Max Perutz

How is a tiny fertilised egg able to turn itself into a human being? How can an acorn transform itself into an oak tree? Over the past twenty years there has been a revolution in biology. For the first time we have begun to understand how organisms make themselves. The Art of Genes gives an account of these new and exciting findings, and of their broader significance…


Book cover of Codex Seraphinianus

Theo Ellsworth Author Of The Understanding Monster - Book One

From my list on to alter your sense of reality.

Who am I?

I think of my imagination as a living thing that I have a working, evolving relationship with. I try to access that creative flow state through automatic drawing and something about that process seems to help me in my daily life. I draw every day. I make art zines, comics, fine art, album art, and collaborative works. The books in this list all feel personally important to me and are works I return to and think about often.

Theo's book list on to alter your sense of reality

Theo Ellsworth Why did Theo love this book?

One of the most treasured and unusual books in my personal library. It’s an encyclopedia from another world, entirely written in a made-up language. Page after page of haunting and strange illustrations, organized into specific categories and concepts. Sitting with this book transports me back to the time before I could read, when words felt like incomprehensible symbols. Taking the time to puzzle over this book feels like such a valuable experience. It takes me right out of the familiar ways of taking in information and puts me in a state of mind that has to search and consider the juxtaposition of images and ideas in totally new ways. I can’t recommend this book enough.

By Luigi Serafini,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Codex Seraphinianus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An extraordinary and surreal art book, this edition has been redesigned by the author and includes new illustrations. Ever since the Codex Seraphinianus was first published in 1981, the book has been recognized as one of the strangest and most beautiful art books ever made. This visual encyclopedia of an unknown world written in an unknown language has fueled much debate over its meaning. Written for the information age and addressing the import of coding and decoding in genetics, literary criticism, and computer science, the Codex confused, fascinated, and enchanted a generation.

While its message may be unclear, its appeal…


Book cover of Code: Veronica

Joshua Grant Author Of Pandora

From my list on with creepy or terrifying creatures and monsters.

Who am I?

I have always been fascinated by horror, particularly the dark and imagination-inciting creatures produced by it (even though I’m a big scaredy-cat, haha!). In a time when slasher films and haunted houses tend to dominate the horror genre, I set out to create a creature-feature similar to the 80s and early 90s classics I grew up with (Aliens, The Thing, Phantoms, Dawn of the Dead). I fell in love with creating truly nightmarish monstrosities and deep, vulnerable but strong characters to battle them. The books on this list are definitely huge inspirations in my own work, so I hope you enjoy the beasties in them as much as I have!

Joshua's book list on with creepy or terrifying creatures and monsters

Joshua Grant Why did Joshua love this book?

I have always loved the hapless heroes and gruesome thrills of the Resident Evil video game series! When a friend bought me this book, I was a bit skeptical at first, but it quickly became my favorite book series I’ve ever read! It builds depth and likability into the characters and situation beyond what the games have ever achieved, and it’s just fun to spend some more time with zombies and other horrifying creatures! S.D. Perry is definitely one of the biggest influences on my early writing.

By S.D. Perry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Code as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Claire Redfield's desperate search for her missing brother leads her to a remote island, where a mad genius has unleashed every grotesque creature at his disposal to stop her from interfering with his horrific agenda. Meanwhile, Chris Redfield has been fighting a one-man war against Umbrella's creations...and is now on a collision course with the man who betrayed the S.T.A.R.S. in Raccoon City.


Book cover of From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development

Joni Levine Author Of 365 Toddler Activities That Inspire Creativity: Games, Projects, and Pastimes That Encourage a Child's Learning and Imagination

From my list on toddler development and behavior.

Who am I?

My passion has always been caring for and educating young children. I spent over 20 years in the classroom as a child care professional and much of that time was with toddlers. I discovered that the stereotype of the terrible twos was truly misguided. I chose books that will shed new light on why toddlers behave the way that they do. These books will show the reader what an important time this is in a child’s growth and learning. I believe that these books will help convince you that toddlers are not terrible; they are terrific!

Joni's book list on toddler development and behavior

Joni Levine Why did Joni love this book?

What are the biggest impacts on a child’s development? This book takes a close look at both nature (genetics) and nurture (the environment). I find that this book is an informative review of what we have learned about early brain development. The influence of experience and culture on the developing child is looked at through the development of the brain. After reading this book, you will have a renewed understanding of just how critical the early years of child development are. It is easy to see that this is a time of extraordinary growth and change and your role as a parent or educator takes significant meaning and implications.

By Deborah A. Phillips (editor), Jack P. Shonkoff (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From Neurons to Neighborhoods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How we raise young children is one of today's most highly personalized and sharply politicized issues, in part because each of us can claim some level of "expertise." The debate has intensified as discoveries about our development-in the womb and in the first months and years-have reached the popular media.

How can we use our burgeoning knowledge to assure the well-being of all young children, for their own sake as well as for the sake of our nation? Drawing from new findings, this book presents important conclusions about nature-versus-nurture, the impact of being born into a working family, the effect…


Book cover of The Atlas Six

Katy Foraker Author Of Memories, Lies, and Other Binds

From my list on a fresh new take on urban fantasy.

Who am I?

I watched my first episode of Buffy: the Vampire Slayer at 12 years old, and I’ve never been the same. It introduced me to the world of urban fantasy, with monsters and magic that exist in our world, and I’ve been devouring everything and anything in the genre since then. I work as a CPA for my day job, so I think I love all things supernatural because it offers a true escape from the ordinary world. I hope you enjoy the books on this list, along with my own book’s take on urban fantasy. If you ever want to chat, you can find me on Instagram at @katyforaker. 

Katy's book list on a fresh new take on urban fantasy

Katy Foraker Why did Katy love this book?

Just when everyone thought urban fantasy was dead, here comes The Atlas Six! What really makes this story interesting is the world building. There is not a lot of backstory on the world it is set in, but bits and pieces throughout the book give you context clues. There are people with magic and abilities, shifters, and petty-thief criminal mermaids. Similar to A Discovery of Witches, science is a strong theme, but in this story, the science is less genetics and more physics-based. As a reader, it made me wonder if there really is an intersection between space, time, and magic. The twist at the end turns the whole story on its head, making me want to grab the sequel immediately!

By Olivie Blake,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Atlas Six as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Instant New York Times Bestseller
A Goodreads Best Fantasy Choice Award Nominee

The much-acclaimed viral sensation from Olivie Blake, The Atlas Six—now newly revised and edited with additional content.

• The tag #theatlassix has millions of views on TikTok
• A dark academic debut fantasy with an established cult following that reads like The Secret History meets The Umbrella Academy
• The first in an explosive trilogy
• Indigo's Top 10 Most Anticipated Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books of 2022
• Tor.com's Most Anticipated SFF of 2022

Each decade, only the six most uniquely talented magicians are selected to earn…


Book cover of The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

Ashley Recanati Author Of AI Battle Royale: How to Protect Your Job from Disruption in the 4th Industrial Revolution

From my list on AI and the future of work.

Who am I?

I have over 2 decades of finance control and general management experience spanning the manufacturing and retail sectors, in big names like LVMH. A finance controller’s job is all about efficiency and involves learning every new tool available that can help to achieve that goal. Through this work, I realized how many people are not ready for the tidal wave of disruption about to hit employees with AI and other technological changes. I was utterly shocked at not being able to find a single sensible guidebook with solutions actionable by workers.

Ashley's book list on AI and the future of work

Ashley Recanati Why did Ashley love this book?

Kurzweil’s classic stems from a single observation: that technology accelerates at an exponential rate.

He goes beyond Moore’s Law to make a much broader principle of this, then uses this framework to make an insane number of predictions in a wide variety of fields, boldly going farther than where more futurists dare venture. He does not hesitate to provide exact dates, for instance for the birthing of Artificial Super-Intelligence. In hindsight we can say that several predictions have not materialized at the dates he gave.

The book remains fascinating nonetheless, and Ray’s enthusiasm for the future is deeply contagious. A must-read for anyone wanting to transition from science fiction to future science as it is in the labs. One that remains relevant and not particularly outdated.  

By Ray Kurzweil,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Singularity Is Near as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Startling in scope and bravado." -Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"Artfully envisions a breathtakingly better world." -Los Angeles Times

"Elaborate, smart and persuasive." -The Boston Globe

"A pleasure to read." -The Wall Street Journal

One of CBS News's Best Fall Books of 2005 * Among St Louis Post-Dispatch's Best Nonfiction Books of 2005 * One of Amazon.com's Best Science Books of 2005

A radical and optimistic view of the future course of human development from the bestselling author of How to Create a Mind and The Singularity is Nearer who Bill Gates calls "the best person I know at…


Book cover of How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

Jeff Campbell Author Of Glowing Bunnies!? Why We're Making Hybrids, Chimeras, and Clones

From my list on stop worrying and love bioengineered animals.

Who am I?

As an author of YA science books (as well as being an editor), my goal is to inspire teens to think deeply about our world, but especially about our relationships with animals. To be honest, I knew bubkis about bioengineering until I was writing my previous book, Last of the Giants, about the extinction crisis. My head exploded as I learned how close we are to “de-extincting” lost species. The power that genetic engineering gives us to alter animals is unnerving, and it’s critical that we understand and discuss it. Bioengineering will change our future, and teens today will be the ones deciding how.    

Jeff's book list on stop worrying and love bioengineered animals

Jeff Campbell Why did Jeff love this book?

Shapiro’s title is a bait-and-switch. She immediately makes clear in big block letters: "WE CAN’T CLONE A MAMMOTH!" It’s impossible. So what is she doing? Well, we can genetically rejigger Asian elephants to resemble woolly mammoths, and that could be useful. Erzats mammoths might help restore the Siberian tundra, and bioengineered, cold-adapted elephants could expand their range north, which would help them survive climate change. Shapiro has little patience for romantic visions of restoring extinct species, but she makes a compelling—and reassuring—case for how we can use bioengineering to save endangered species while they still exist.

By Beth Shapiro,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Clone a Mammoth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An insider's view on bringing extinct species back to life

Could extinct species, like mammoths and passenger pigeons, be brought back to life? In How to Clone a Mammoth, Beth Shapiro, an evolutionary biologist and pioneer in ancient DNA research, addresses this intriguing question by walking readers through the astonishing and controversial process of de-extinction. From deciding which species should be restored to anticipating how revived populations might be overseen in the wild, Shapiro vividly explores the extraordinary cutting-edge science that is being used to resurrect the past. Considering de-extinction's practical benefits and ethical challenges, Shapiro argues that the overarching…


Book cover of The Gene: An Intimate History

Kevin Davies Author Of Editing Humanity: The CRISPR Revolution and the New Era of Genome Editing

From my list on CRISPR and genome editing.

Who am I?

I’m a British science editor and author of a string of books on the scientific, medical, and social implications of advances in genetics research. I trained as a geneticist but found more personal satisfaction wielding a pen rather than a pipette. I’m especially drawn to science stories that have medical implications for the public and a strong narrative thread. Prior to writing Editing Humanity, I covered the race for the BRCA1 breast cancer gene (Breakthrough), the Human Genome Project (Cracking the Genome), and the rise of personal genomics (The $1,000 Genome). I’m currently writing a biography of sickle cell disease, arguably the most famous genetic mutation in human history.

Kevin's book list on CRISPR and genome editing

Kevin Davies Why did Kevin love this book?

As both a follow-up and a sort of prequel to his Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Emperor of All Maladies, oncologist Sid Mukherjee wrote another elegant masterpiece in The Gene.

The book unwinds the rich history of genetics research with both substance and an abundance of style, culminating in the discovery of CRISPR and gene editing. It is as good an introduction to the story of DNA and genetics as can be found, one that sets the stage for a variety of therapeutic interventions. 

By Siddhartha Mukherjee,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Gene as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Selected as a Book of the Year by The New York Times, The Economist, Independent, Observer and Mail on Sunday

THE NEW YORK TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER
BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK

`Dramatic and precise... [A] thrilling and comprehensive account of what seems certain to be the most radical, controversial and, to borrow from the subtitle, intimate science of our time... He is a natural storyteller... A page-turner... Read this book and steel yourself for what comes next'
Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times

The Gene is the story of one of the most powerful and dangerous ideas in our…


Book cover of Fear Nothing

Miranda Kate Author Of Dead Lake

From my list on horror and feeding your horror habit.

Who am I?

I’m a writer who writes across genres, but everything has a dark edge. As a reader, I want to be able to relate, engage, and connect in some way to the characters and story, but as I come from an abusive childhood, that means they can’t be light and fluffy; there has to be something off-kilter and warped because that reflects how my life has been. In my own writing, I try to do the same and create something that is emotive and real while still allowing the reader to escape. I originate from Surrey, in the south of England, but I have lived in the Netherlands since 2002.

Miranda's book list on horror and feeding your horror habit

Miranda Kate Why did Miranda love this book?

This book was my introduction to this famous horror author, and though occasionally Koontz gets repetitive with his characters and storylines, this was something out of the ordinary.

We have a character that can only go out at night, and we have non-human escapees from a military research institute. A perfect mix for a gripping read, although for me, I was sold on the friendships and relationships in this book.

The lead character’s pet dog and his rich surfer dude friend and how they all interact with each other adds humour and lightness to a truly scary story that involves genetically modified animals who can understand humans. Again a supernatural and out-of-the-box story idea that kept me enthralled and made it stand out.

By Dean Koontz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fear Nothing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you delight in the suspense of Stephen King and The Stranger by Harlan Coben chilled you to the bone (in the best possible way), you'll love Fear Nothing - the classic thriller by Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz. 'Not just a master of our darkest dreams but also a literary juggler' - The Times.

I have been one acquainted with the night.

Christopher Snow is athletic, handsome enough, intelligent, romantic, funny. But his whole life has been affected by xeroderma pigmentosum, a rare genetic disorder that means his skin and eyes cannot be exposed…