Book review: My DNA Diary: Cystic Fibrosis

Author Lisa Mullan introduces complex genetics terminology in a fun and entertaining way for older children and adults alike

It’s fair to say that genetics and genomics come with their share of acronyms, jargon and terminology that can mystify most adults, let alone children. A new book, My DNA Diary: Cystic Fibrosis, attempts to clear up the confusion in an entertaining way. It is aimed at 9 to 12-year-olds, but there’s plenty in there to enlighten adults too.

The book’s narrator is Alina, one of the four ‘Dinky Amigos’ created by author Lisa Mullan. Alina introduces the reader to a range of genetic terminology via her DNA diary from inside a child with cystic fibrosis. Along on the journey are her friends Tristian, Gina, and Crispin as they try to persuade water to leave their cell. With an entertaining narrative and fun illustrations, you will hardly notice that you are learning the language of genetics as you read, but if there is any doubt about what particular words mean or how they are pronounced, there is a glossary to help.

Suitable for home or school, teachers and parents can be reassured that the science is correctly explained. The book enables those without a background in genetics to introduce the subject, and to learn themselves. And, for children, the book does an excellent job of introducing genetics concepts and terminology in a fun way, potentially inspiring some of tomorrow’s scientists and clinicians to continue their learning journey.

Author Lisa Mullan has a PhD in biochemistry and has worked for six years as a scientific training officer at the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust Genome Campus. She also has two children, putting her in a great position to make molecular biology accessible to everyone in an accurate and entertaining way.

My DNA Diary: Cystic Fibrosis is the first in the Genetics for Kids series written by Mullan, and we look forward to the next instalment. Fans of the book can also subscribe to the monthly mini-series Dinky Digest.

The book is available now as a paperback and ebook, and 10% of profits from sales go to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.