A good read, but not for novices

filled star filled star filled star filled star star unfilled
libbylikestoread Avatar


The Genome Odyssey details the beginning and current status of genomics-based personalized medicine, written by a leading scientist and physician in that field. The author's voice is both the strength and the weakness of this book: on the one hand, he does an excellent job in the second half of the book explaining the cases his medical practice sees and the innovation genome sequencing had in the diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases. Dr. Ashley does an excellent job making the reader feel the same urgency the medical team felt to solve these cases. He is also a very persuasive writer, presenting a convincing case for why this sort of personalized medicine is actually one of the most cost-efficient ways to treat rare disease. I loved this section and stayed up past my bedtime reading it because I just had to know what happened with each patient.
The weakest part of this book is the beginning. I felt it was way too technical and dry, especially to start off. I work in this field, so part of my boredom is probably due to already knowing this information. But this part gets extremely technical for readers who aren't geneticists. I felt the latter half of the book was so good that it's worth just skipping the first parts for it. Just take this summary: Sequencing used to be extremely expensive and labor-intensive. Now, it's much cheaper and quicker, we're constantly inventing new and innovative sequencing methods, which allows physicians to finally start capitalizing on the promises of personalized medicine. If you feel lost or curious about the details of those sequencing methods or advancements during the second half of the book, by all means read the first several chapters.