Mutants: On Genetic Variety and the Human Body

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Viking, 2003 - Science - 431 pages
19 Reviews
"Who are the mutants? We are all mutants. But some of us are more mutant than others."

Variety, even deformity, may seem like an unlikely route by which to approach normality, even perfection. Yet much of what we know about the mechanisms of human development, growth, and aging comes from the study of people who are afflicted with congenital diseases, most of which have genetic causes. Congenital abnormalities reveal not only errors within the womb, but also our evolutionary history.

In Mutants, Armand Marie Leroi gives a brilliant narrative account of our genetic grammar and the people whose bodies have revealed it, balancing both the science and the stories behind some of history's most captivating figures-including a French convent girl who found herself changing sex upon puberty; children who, echoing Homer's Cyclops, are born with a single eye in the middle of their foreheads; a village of long-lived Croatian dwarves; a hairy family who was kept at the Burmese royal court for four generations (and from whom Darwin took one of his keenest insights into heredity); and the ostrich-footed Wadoma of the Zambezi River Valley.

Stepping effortlessly from myth to molecular biology, this elegant, humane, and illuminating book is about us all.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bke - LibraryThing

The author combines folklore, history, and modern genetics into a fascinating narrative. It is amazing what just a few changes to our DNA can do to the human form. Though the science bogs down in a few places, it is for the most part an easy read. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - devilish2 - LibraryThing

This is not dry inaccessible scientific writing. This is a fascinating look at how genes express themselves and what mutations tell us about how our bodies work both normally and when they are ... Read full review

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Mutants An introduction
A Perfect Join On embryos
The Last Judgement On first parts

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About the author (2003)

Armand Marie Leroi, in addition to many technical articles on evolutionary and developmental biology, has written for the London Review of Booksand Times Literary Supplement. He was appointed Reader in Evolutionary Developmental Biology at Imperial College and, in 2001, was awarded the Scientist for the New Century medal by the Royal Institution of Great Britain. Mutantsis his first book.

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