An intelligent 15-year-old I know is interested in both computer science and genetics. I told her that these fields make an excellent combination. I'd like to give her a book on bioinformatics or computational genomics. I'm looking for a fun book, not a textbook. Specifically, it should inspire people to want to study the field, not aim to provide in-depth knowledge itself. I am not interested in books on genetic algorithms. Any suggestions?

  • $\begingroup$ Everybody, please note earlier discussions about list questions and act accordingly. $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented Apr 7, 2013 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ ?? huh? that meta post shows there is currently no consensus, both answers/policies proposed by the two moderators have negative votes. it does show however that list questions are disliked by moderators, so caveat $\endgroup$
    – vzn
    Commented Apr 7, 2013 at 23:58
  • $\begingroup$ Some overlap with cs.stackexchange.com/questions/1156/… but it'd be nice to see this question get an actual answer about the computational / bioinformatics side of things - that other question is mostly biology books $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 13, 2014 at 11:49

1 Answer 1


this is a very broad question so am going to answer it with decent lists found across the internet most of which are sorted by some criteria (eg bestsellers, top review counts, etc). also there are so many bioinformatics books now and one strategy might be to simply go with your favorite publisher. there are some that come up often in CS areas eg O'Reilly. also, even the "x for Dummies" book series has a bioinformatics title which might be of interest to those who like that publisher. another option is to narrow it down by your algorithmic angle eg there is one based on Python and there are others that emphasize other statistical packages, etc.;

as for your tricky criteria of "inspirational" it may make sense to look for biographies of scientists in the field or stories about successful startups, and if the student is into CS, then programming exercises might verge on "inspirational".


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