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The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to…

The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA

by Mark Schultz, Kevin Cannon, Zander Cannon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 4 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Introduces genetic concepts, via an alien character who has researched earth to give data to his ruler. Some amusing script, and creative images. Since I had already taken a genetics class, a lot of it was pretty old-hat & boring. I can't really say how someone who knew nothing about genetics would respond.
Some of it was dated: --His pondering (p 132) whether modern humans have any neanderthal genes (which would indicate they were absorbed into Homo sapiens rather than being exterminated by us--current DNA testing can give you what % Neanderthal you are). --Twenty years ago my son was given recombinant human growth hormone for genetic disorder--didn't think it was "still being tested for safety" as stated on p108: "Somatotropin also known as Human Growth Hormone.Helps prevent growth deficiencies, especially in children. At this time, the recombinant form is still being tested for safety."
Some of the current uses of genetic modification were new to me & I appreciated being updated, and the page on Johnny Appleseed was actually useful as I plan to start an orchard.
Includes glossary & recommended reading list. ( )
  juniperSun | Sep 17, 2016 |
4Q, 3P. This graphic novel is very informative, but in an accessible way! The Stuff of Life provides an alternative to boring high school textbooks. The information is the same, but there is a story line, writing style is easier to follow, and there is humor. I believe in combination with lessons related to genetics/DNA the book would be a great tool for teaching teens about science. Teens will find this much more engaging and the concepts are explained in way that they aren't a big headache (well at least not as much as in a textbook). I also really like that the book doesn't over simplify everything and respects teen's intelligence.
  anavb | May 8, 2013 |
Bloort 138 is a biological scientist sent to Earth to look for answers to his world’s current health crisis. He is back and reporting on the science of genetics in terms that even the royal family can understand. He explains in some detail the importance of understand individual genetic histories, the roles of molecules, cells, dna, methods of genetic reproduction and manipulation. He briefly introduces issues including cloning and genetic engineering for the lay reader. Bloort 138’s detailed report uses Earth’s success with diversity to suggest a solution for the planet Gargal’s genetic problems.
Though this graphic novel is not a simple comic book, it does a good job clarifying some of the complex concepts of genetics and DNA. Dull lessons on the scientific explorations of Mendel, Darwin, Watson and Crick, and many others would be enhanced by supplementing them with Bloort 138’s explanations and understandable descriptions. Young adults with an interest in the science of genetics will find sidebars of information on specific people and concepts. They will also appreciate the suggested reading list and illustrated glossary. The black and white drawings are sometimes crowded but always thorough in depicting the facts and research questions of genetics making this an interesting read for even those readers who don’t especially like science. This is a recommended purchase for high school and public libraries. Grades 10 -12 ( )
1 vote Irishdart | May 19, 2012 |

"The science fiction premise may cause some to take it less seriously, and the artists’ tendency to anthropomorphize the molecules in order to facilitate understanding sometimes obscures the actual chemical process—no good for those who are looking to study genetics beyond this primer. But for those who just need a solid conceptual understanding, this is a good way to go. Each step is delightfully illustrated, and when the content starts to get too heavy the writer is fully aware of the problem, having Floorish stop to summarize each section in case he (and we) missed anything.

At 142 pages (plus a glossary) The Stuff of Life may not seem long, but it’s one of the densest graphic books I’ve ever read. It treats its subject and its readers intelligently, and appropriately enough for a comic, with plenty of humor. Highly recommended." ( )
  lampbane | Jan 20, 2011 |
A fun, but interesting, look at genetics from an alien's point of view. My fifth grader loved this book. ( )
  craftyfox | Sep 26, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
I’m not sure who the audience for this is. Younger readers will be put off by the relatively advanced vocabulary. Older readers will likely find the comedy aliens too silly. I only made it 25 pages into the 150-page book before I gave up — it was making me sleepy.

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mark Schultzprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cannon, Kevinmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Cannon, Zandermain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bauer, ThomasÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Grace (by Mark Schultz)
This book, and every book forever and ever, is for Julie (by Zander Cannon)
For R.A. (by Kevin Cannon)
First words
A detailed translation of the report of Bloort 183, interplanetary biologist of the Glargal Royal Science Academy to his Supreme Highness Floorsh 727, concerning the universal regenerative strategy of life on the planet Earth, satellite of Sol.
p88: Lysenko's state-sanctioned program is an object lesson in what happens when what is wished to be true TRUMPS what the evidence demonstrates to be true. But this catastrophic refusal to accept facts that were inconvenient occurred long ago, in a totalitarian society, and could never happen in a democracy, in a scientifically enlightened era. Or could it?
P. 115: Cows now produce Human Protein C in their milk. Good news for Hemophiliacs and for stroke and heart attack victims!...A transgene coding for a specific enzyme converter, inserted into pigs, converts diet-harmful Omega-6 fatty acids into healthy Omega-3 fatty acids!...Transgenes inserted into malarial mosquitoes can render the insects incapable of carrying the parasite responsible for that dread disease. And transgenes from three different animal sources have been inserted into yeast to help fabricate a drug to fight malaria. This particular project has already proven a success!...Animal transgenes have also been put to some rather oddball uses. Zebrafish, laced with the jellyfish gene for fluorescence, for instance. The inserted gene is used as a marker—an environmental alert system. The transgene is manipulated to express—to fluoresce—only when pollutants in its zebrafish host's waters reach a specified unhealthy level.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0809089475, Paperback)

Let’s face it: From adenines to zygotes, from cytokinesis to parthenogenesis, even the basics of genetics can sound utterly alien. So who better than an alien to explain it all? Enter Bloort 183, a scientist from an asexual alien race threatened by disease, who's been charged with researching the fundamentals of human DNA and evolution and laying it all out in clear, simple language so that even his slow-to-grasp-the-point leader can get it. In the hands of the award-winning writer Mark Schultz, Bloort's explanations give even the most science-phobic reader a complete introduction to the history and science of genetics.

The Stuff of Life Revealed

In the panels below, Bloort teaches his fellow alien about DNA.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:28 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Bloort 183, an asexual alien scientist, explains the fundamentals of genetics, covering human DNA, evolution, and other scientific concepts in graphic novel format.

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