The basis for the PBS Ken Burns Documentary The Gene: An Intimate History From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies--a fascinating history of the gene and "a magisterial account of how human minds have laboriously, ingeniously picked apart what makes us tick" (Elle). Sid Mukherjee has the uncanny ability to bring together science, history, and the future in a way that is understandable and riveting, guiding us through both time and the mystery of life itself. -Ken Burns "Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee dazzled readers with his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Emperor of All Maladies in 2010. That achievement was evidently just a warm-up for his virtuoso performance in The Gene: An Intimate History, in which he braids science, history, and memoir into an epic with all the range and biblical thunder of Paradise Lost" (The New York Times). In this biography Mukherjee brings to life the quest to understand human heredity and its surprising influence on our lives, personalities, identities, fates, and choices. "Mukherjee expresses abstract intellectual ideas through emotional stories... and] swaddles his medical rigor with rhapsodic tenderness, surprising vulnerability, and occasional flashes of pure poetry" (The Washington Post). Throughout, the story of Mukherjee's own family--with its tragic and bewildering history of mental illness--reminds us of the questions that hang over our ability to translate the science of genetics from the laboratory to the real world. In riveting and dramatic prose, he describes the centuries of research and experimentation--from Aristotle and Pythagoras to Mendel and Darwin, from Boveri and Morgan to Crick, Watson and Franklin, all the way through the revolutionary twenty-first century innovators who mapped the human genome. "A fascinating and often sobering history of how humans came to understand the roles of genes in making us who we are--and what our manipulation of those genes might mean for our future" (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel), The Gene is the revelatory and magisterial history of a scientific idea coming to life, the most crucial science of our time, intimately explained by a master. "The Gene is a book we all should read" (USA TODAY).
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.
The bestselling author of The Accidental Billionaires and The 37th Parallel tells the fascinating Jurassic Park--like story of the genetic restoration of an extinct species--the woolly mammoth. "Paced like a thriller...Woolly reanimates history and breathes new life into the narrative of nature" (NPR).With his "unparalleled" (Booklist, starred review) writing, Ben Mezrich takes us on an exhilarating and true adventure story from the icy terrain of Siberia to the cutting-edge genetic labs of Harvard University. A group of scientists work to make fantasy reality by splicing DNA from frozen woolly mammoth into the DNA of a modern elephant. Will they be able to turn the hybrid cells into a functional embryo and potentially bring the extinct creatures to our modern world? Along with this team of brilliant scientists, a millionaire plans to build the world's first Pleistocene Park and populate a huge tract of the Siberian tundra with ancient herbivores as a hedge against an environmental ticking time bomb that is hidden deep within the permafrost. More than a story of genetics, this is a thriller illuminating the real-life race against global warming, of the incredible power of modern technology, of the brave fossil hunters who battle polar bears and extreme weather conditions, and the ethical quandary of cloning extinct animals. This "rollercoaster quest for the past and future" (Christian Science Monitor) asks us if we can right the wrongs of our ancestors who hunted the woolly mammoth to extinction and at what cost?
You are just 10% human. For every one of the cells that make up the vessel that you call your body, there are nine impostor cells hitching a ride. You are not just flesh and blood, muscle and bone, brain and skin, but also bacteria and fungi. Over your lifetime, you will carry the equivalent weight of five African elephants in microbes. You are not an individual but a colony.
Until recently, we had thought our microbes hardly mattered, but science is revealing a different story, one in which microbes run our bodies; remaining a healthy human is impossible without them.
In this riveting, shocking, and beautifully written book, biologist Alanna Collen draws on the latest scientific research to show how our personal colony of microbes influences our weight, immune system, mental health, and even our choice of partner. She argues that so many of our modern diseases--obesity, autism, mental illness, digestive disorders, allergies, autoimmune afflictions, and even cancer--have their root in our failure to cherish our most fundamental and enduring relationship: that with our individual colony of microbes.The good news is that unlike our human cells, we can change our microbes for the better. Life--and your body--will never seem the same again.
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.
The ability of proteins to fold rapidly and efficiently into intricate and highly specific structures following their synthesis on ribosomes is an essential part of the conversion of genetic information into cellular activity. However, little is understood in detail of how this occurs. The Royal Society meeting on which this volume is based focused on the molecular basis of the folding processes and brought together a wide range of leading experimental and theoretical scientists in this field. This volume offers an authoritative collection of the foundations of current work. The first section discusses the experimental elucidation of the pathways of protein folding. The second section looks at theoretical approaches to folding, and the final group addresses the issue of how proteins fold in vivo. This volume will be of value to all those with an interest in protein folding, especially those in molecular biology, biochemistry and cell biology.
"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?