Richard Dawkins' brilliant reformulation of the theory of natural selection has the rare distinction of having provoked as much excitement and interest outside the scientific community as within it. His theories have helped change the whole nature of the study of social biology, and have forced thousands of readers to rethink their beliefs about life.
In his internationally bestselling, now classic volume, The Selfish Gene, Dawkins explains how the selfish gene can also be a subtle gene. The world of the selfish gene revolves around savage competition, ruthless exploitation, and deceit, and yet, Dawkins argues, acts of apparent altruism do exist in nature. Bees, for example, will commit suicide when they sting to protect the hive, and birds will risk their lives to warn the flock of an approaching hawk.
This revised edition of Dawkins' fascinating book contains two new chapters. One, entitled "Nice Guys Finish First," demonstrates how cooperation can evolve even in a basically selfish world. The other new chapter, entitled "The Long Reach of the Gene," which reflects the arguments presented in Dawkins' The Extended Phenotype, clarifies the startling view that genes may reach outside the bodies in which they dwell and manipulate other individuals and even the world at large. Containing a wealth of remarkable new insights into the biological world, the second edition once again drives home the fact that truth is stranger than fiction.
Is our nature--as individuals, as a species--determined by our evolution and encoded in our genes? If we unravel the protein sequences of our DNA, will we gain the power to cure all of our physiological and psychological afflictions and even to solve the problems of our society? Today biologists--especially geneticists--are proposing answers to questions that have long been asked by philosophy or faith or the social sciences. Their work carries the weight of scientific authority and attracts widespread public attention, but it is often based on what the renowned evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin identifies as a highly reductive misconception: "the pervasive error that confuses the genetic state of an organism with its total physical and psychic nature as a human being."In these nine essays covering the history of modern biology from Darwin to Dolly the sheep, all of which were originally published in The New York Review of Books, Lewontin combines sharp criticisms of overreaching scientific claims with lucid expositions of the exact state of current scientific knowledge--not only what we do know, but what we don't and maybe won't anytime soon. Among the subjects he discusses are heredity and natural selection, evolutionary psychology and altruism, nineteenth-century naturalist novels, sex surveys, cloning, and the Human Genome Project. In each case he casts an ever-vigilant and deflationary eye on the temptation to look to biology for explanations of everything we want to know about our physical, mental, and social lives. These essays--several of them updated with epilogues that take account of scientific developments since they were first written--are an indispensable guide to the most controversial issues in the life sciences today. The second edition of this collection includes new essays on genetically modified food and the completion of the Human Genome Project. It is an indispensable guide to the most controversial issues in the life sciences today.
An explorer of that most wondrous of islands, the human brain, writes D.M. Thomas in The New York Times Book Review, Oliver Sacks also loves the oceanic kind of islands. Both kinds figure movingly in this book--part travelogue, part autobiography, part medical mystery story--in which Sacks's journeys to a tiny Pacific atoll and the island of Guam become explorations of the meaning of islands, the genesis of disease, the wonders of botany, the nature of deep geological time, and the complexities of being human.
Passionate, succinct, chilling, closely argued, sometimes hilarious, touchingly well-intentioned, and essential. --Margaret Atwood, The New York Review of BooksNearly fifteen years ago, in The End of Nature, Bill McKibben demonstrated that humanity had begun to irrevocably alter and endanger our environment on a global scale. Now he turns his eye to an array of technologies that could change our relationship not with the rest of nature but with ourselves. He explores the frontiers of genetic engineering, robotics, and nanotechnology--all of which we are approaching with astonishing speed--and shows that each threatens to take us past a point of no return. We now stand, in Michael Pollan's words, on a moral and existential threshold, poised between the human past and a post-human future. McKibben offers a celebration of what it means to be human, and a warning that we risk the loss of all meaning if we step across the threshold. Instantly acclaimed for its passion and insight, this wise and eloquent book argues that we cannot forever grow in reach and power--that we must at last learn how to say, Enough.
An anthropologist visits the frontiers of genetics, medicine, and technology to ask: Whose values are guiding gene editing experiments? And what does this new era of scientific inquiry mean for the future of the human species?That rare kind of scholarship that is also a page-turner.
--Britt Wray, author of Rise of the Necrofauna At a conference in Hong Kong in November 2018, Dr. He Jiankui announced that he had created the first genetically modified babies--twin girls named Lulu and Nana--sending shockwaves around the world. A year later, a Chinese court sentenced Dr. He to three years in prison for illegal medical practice. As scientists elsewhere start to catch up with China's vast genetic research program, gene editing is fueling an innovation economy that threatens to widen racial and economic inequality. Fundamental questions about science, health, and social justice are at stake: Who gets access to gene editing technologies? As countries loosen regulations around the globe, from the U.S. to Indonesia, can we shape research agendas to promote an ethical and fair society? Eben Kirksey takes us on a groundbreaking journey to meet the key scientists, lobbyists, and entrepreneurs who are bringing cutting-edge genetic engineering tools like CRISPR--created by Nobel Prize-winning biochemists Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier--to your local clinic. He also ventures beyond the scientific echo chamber, talking to disabled scholars, doctors, hackers, chronically-ill patients, and activists who have alternative visions of a genetically modified future for humanity. The Mutant Project empowers us to ask the right questions, uncover the truth, and navigate this brave new world.
Want to know more about genetics? This non-intimidating guide gets you up to speed on all the fundamentals and the most recent discoveries. Now with 25% new and revised material, Genetics For Dummies, 2nd Edition gives you clear and accessible coverage of this rapidly advancing field.
From dominant and recessive inherited traits to the DNA double-helix, you get clear explanations in easy-to-understand terms. Plus, you'll see how people are applying genetic science to fight disease, develop new products, solve crimes . . . and even clone cats.
- Covers topics in a straightforward and effective manner
- Includes coverage of stem cell research, molecular genetics, behavioral genetics, genetic engineering, and more
- Explores ethical issues as they pertain to the study of genetics
Whether you?re currently enrolled in a genetics course or are just looking for a refresher, Genetics For Dummies, 2nd Edition provides science lovers of all skill levels with easy-to-follow information on this fascinating subject.
Joining the ranks of modern myth busters, Dr. Sharon Moalem turns our current understanding of illness on its head and challenges us to fundamentally change the way we think about our bodies, our health, and our relationship to just about every other living thing on earth, from plants and animals to insects and bacteria.
So why does disease exist? Moalem proposes that most common ailments--diabetes, hemochromatosis, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia--came into existence for very good reasons. At some point they helped our ancestors survive some grand challenge to their existence. Examining the evolution of man, Moalem reveals the role genetic and cultural differences have played in the health and well-being of various races, including their susceptibility to disease.
With mesmerizing insight, Moalem offers groundbreaking insight into:
- How diabetes may be a biproduct of a mechanism that helped humans survive the Ice Age
- Why African Americans living in the north might suffer from vitamin D deficiencies,
- Why Asians can't drink as much alcohol as Europeans
Revelatory, utterly engaging, and timely--Moalem ponders strongN1, the emerging Avian Flu virus--Why Redheads Feel More Pain and Asians Can't Drink will irrevocably change the way we think about our bodies and ourselves.
"A gifted and thoughtful writer, Metzl brings us to the frontiers of biology and technology, and reveals a world full of promise and peril." -- Siddhartha Mukherjee MD, New York Times bestselling author of The Emperor of All Maladies and The Gene
Passionate, provocative, and highly illuminating, Hacking Darwin is the must read book about the future of our species for fans of Homo Deus and The Gene.
After 3.8 billion years humankind is about to start evolving by new rules...
From leading geopolitical expert and technology futurist Jamie Metzl comes a groundbreaking exploration of the many ways genetic-engineering is shaking the core foundations of our lives -- sex, war, love, and death.
At the dawn of the genetics revolution, our DNA is becoming as readable, writable, and hackable as our information technology. But as humanity starts retooling our own genetic code, the choices we make today will be the difference between realizing breathtaking advances in human well-being and descending into a dangerous and potentially deadly genetic arms race.
Enter the laboratories where scientists are turning science fiction into reality. Look towards a future where our deepest beliefs, morals, religions, and politics are challenged like never before and the very essence of what it means to be human is at play. When we can engineer our future children, massively extend our lifespans, build life from scratch, and recreate the plant and animal world, should we?