How we grow; and what happens when mistakes occur
Mutants is a book about how the body develops and grows from a single cell to an adult and then declines into old age. What does the new molecular genetics tell us about the human condition? How is a limb formed? Why do we have five fingers (and not six)? What controls the size to which we grow? Why do we age?
More than this, however, it is a brilliant narrative history of what happens when things go wrong. This book tells, rather like a biological verison of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, the stories of particularly historically important and bizarre cases: of a French convent girl of the last century who found herself changing sex upon puberty and her miserable fate in the gutters of Paris; of children, invariably stillborn, who have cylopia (one eye located beneath their nasal cavity); of a tribe of pygmies in the Andaman Islands and a village of Ecuadorian dwarves: of a remarkably hairy family who were kept at the Burmese Royal Court for four generations (and from whom Darwin took one of his keenest insights into heredity); and so on. From each important lessons are drawn that illustrate over and over again the amazing nature of cellular growth and how it works.
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'It is seldom one finds a work as finely written as MUTANTS...elegant...admirable...beautifully written and always engrossing' -- Daily Telegraph
'Thought-provoking...highly informative...combining fascinating narratives with sophisticated science....poetic, philosophical, profound, witty and challenging' -- Guardian
'insightful and unflinching work about human deformity...beautifully written mixture of science and historical anecdote' -- The Guardian
Armand Leroi was born in 1964 in New Zealand, and has lived all over the world;. He has published widely in technical journals on evolutionary and developmental genetics, and is currently Reader in Evolutionary Developmental Biology at
Imperial College London.
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Book Description HarperCollins, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 7184573