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I am not a science writer by trade. In order to write Your Genes, Your Choices, I first had to study up on genetics and the issues involved. Then I had to try to explain them in a way that other newcomers to the subject could understand, without making terrible errors. It was a difficult task!

I am therefore indebted to the members of the AAAS Advisory Panel. At an all-day meeting in the spring of 1995, they steered my away from my original outline toward the book you find here. Many months later, several panel members provided very useful reviews of the manuscript. For this, I would like to thank Ruth Allen, Jeffrey Botkin, Ron Cole-Turner, Robert Cook-Deegan, and Joan Weiss. From the AAAS, Mark Frankel, Jerry Bell, and Shirley Malcom provided detailed critiques, as did Daniel Drell of the Department of Energy's Human Genome Program. Dr. Drell and Dr. Cook-Deegan are to be thanked especially for their painstaking reviews of the second draft. Finally, my colleague from the literacy field, Mike Fox, provided a "plain-language" edit that seemed excessive when I first saw the pen marks, but proved on the mark, as usual.

It should be noted that in addition to the publications cited in the bibliography, the Washington Post's coverage of this fast-changing topic assisted my genetics education. I also looked at Science and Human Genome News (which were useful when I could understand what I was reading). The web site maintained by the Hereditary Disease Foundation helped me pin down the proper words in discussing hereditary disorders. The web site of the Center for Bioethics (in particular, the articles posted by Arthur Caplan, Mary B. Mahowald, Glenn McGee, Mark Philpott, and Antonie van den Beld) suggested issues to include in this book.

Finally, I thank Maria Sosa for her brilliant idea that the world needs an easy-to-read book on issues in genetics.

Although many people have guided my steps, I assume all responsibility for any errors and out-of-date information and for any sections in which I failed to make things clear.

Catherine Baker

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Your Genes, Your Choices is a publication of Science + Literacy for Health, a project of the AAAS Directorate for Education and Human Resources. The publication was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The website was built by Mike Wooldridge. Send feedback to