×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Mutants: On Genetic Variety and the Human Body
     

Mutants: On Genetic Variety and the Human Body

4.1 11
by Armand Marie Leroi
 

See All Formats & Editions

Visit Armand Marie Leroi on the web: http://armandleroi.com/index.html

Stepping effortlessly from myth to cutting-edge science, Mutants gives a brilliant narrative account of our genetic code and the captivating people whose bodies have revealed it—a French convent girl who found herself changing sex at puberty; children who, echoing Homer&rsquo

Overview

Visit Armand Marie Leroi on the web: http://armandleroi.com/index.html

Stepping effortlessly from myth to cutting-edge science, Mutants gives a brilliant narrative account of our genetic code and the captivating people whose bodies have revealed it—a French convent girl who found herself changing sex at 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; one family, whose bodies were entirely covered with hair, was kept at the Burmese royal court for four generations and gave Darwin one of his keenest insights into heredity. This elegant, humane, and engaging book “captures what we know of the development of what makes us human” (Nature).

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Combines meticulous historical research, [and] brand-new genetic understanding to tell an absorbing tale." —Matt Ridley, author of Genome

"A marvelous accomplishment. A good look a the amazing prospect before us as we decode the human genome..." —The Seattle Times

Publishers Weekly
In a book that's as disturbing as it is enlightening, as unsettling as it is compelling, Leroi examines all sorts of genetic variability in humans and explains how that variability helps scientists understand the processes associated with human growth and development. Leroi, recipient of a Scientist for the New Century medal from the Royal Institution of Great Britain, demonstrates, in both text and pictures, that an enormous amount can go wrong as humans develop from fertilized eggs and progress toward old age. The missteps can result from genetic or environmental causes, with the latter occasionally responsible for the former. Although the subjects Leroi presents conjoined twins, individuals with cyclopia (a single eye), deformed or missing limbs, abnormal height, supernumerary breasts, an overabundance of body hair, piebald coloring often appear grotesque, he approaches all of his topics and each of his human subjects with great respect. Leroi uses each example to demonstrate the developmental lessons they illustrate: e.g., the role of fibroblast growth factors in the formation of limbs, the pituitary's impact on body size. By explaining that each of us carries hundreds of mutations within us, he asserts that we are not all that different from those who, on first glance, appear very disparate. Similarly, he effectively dismisses the belief that human races are anything more than a convenient social construct, establishing that there is no biological basis for such categorization. While the graphic pictures might deter some, they add immeasurably to the text. (Nov. 10) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
British scientist Leroi (evolutionary developmental biology, Imperial Coll.) has compiled an assemblage of human deformities recorded throughout history. This story of human mutants describes many of the bizarre monstrosities that result when the "normal" genetic instructions are not, or cannot, be translated correctly. (In the past, these people were frequently labeled freaks and exhibited to the curious public.) Teratologies leading to extra limbs, or no limbs, and conjoined bodies known as Siamese twins are vividly described. Dwarfs and giants are contrasted, the tragic errors of faulty sex development are elucidated, and hairiness in "dog-faced" people and other aspects of anomalous development are illustrated. While this is a highly readable narrative of bizarre developmental outcomes, Leroi admits that the mutations that cause these events are not understood or in too many cases even identified. It must be emphasized that we all possess mutations, but fortunately these mutations are not, for the most part, notably deleterious. Natalie Angier's Woman covers several of these conditions with greater clarity. Writing for the general reader, Leroi keeps technical aspects of the science to a minimum. Suitable for all public libraries where there is an interest in the history of science and medicine.-Rita Hoots, Woodland Coll., CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142004821
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/26/2004
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
303,940
Product dimensions:
5.06(w) x 7.76(h) x 0.76(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Combines meticulous historical research, [and] brand-new genetic understanding to tell an absorbing tale." —Matt Ridley, author of Genome

"A marvelous accomplishment. A good look a the amazing prospect before us as we decode the human genome..." —The Seattle Times

Meet the Author

Visit Armand Marie Leroi on the web: http://armandleroi.com/index.html

Armand Marie Leroi has lived in South Africa, Canada, and the United States. Since 1996, he has been a lecturer in evolutionary genetics at Imperial College, London. He has published widely in technical journals on evolutionary and developmental genetics and writes occasionally for the London Review of Books.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Mutants : On Genetic Variety and the Human Body 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
GeneGirl More than 1 year ago
Mutants is a very interesting book. It covers a very wide range of genetic disorders. Each section is like a chronological run down of the history of a genetic disorder. It begins with the religious auguries and dogma surrounding the earliest occurances of a particular disorder, and by the end of a chapter, the reader has been informed of modern research and understanding of the disorder. The book touches on nerve cord formation, homeobox gene mutation, signal transduction, and other important topics in genetics. It is an intriguing book, some what like a series of Ripley's Believe It or Not episodes. I believe it entertains and educates. Do read if you are interested in conjoined twins, hirsutism, hermaphroditism, or other conditions. Not a study guide, but a very good book. Very well organized too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I adore this book, but being only 15 my vocabulary isn't great. By page 16 my mom was sick of me asking her questions so she bought me an electronic dictionary. The book and the amount of research is beautiful, and I've even noticed some subtle humor in the text. i recommend this book to anyone who likes science, or is just bored.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was thrilled at the amount of research this author did and the knowledge. I could hardly put this book down yet i loved it so much I didn't want to read it too fast and be finished with it. I wrote the author and let him know how wonderful his book was and ask if there were others. he recommended Joan Roughgardens book Evolutions Rainbow. If you loved Mutant you will be amazed at Evolutions Rainbow. Joan has another one coming out soon, can hardly wait. Would also like to see more by the author of this book Mutant.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not only a interesting journey through the varieties of genetic and developmental difference, but also an examination of the causes and consequences of these differences.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book details just about anything and EVERYTHING there is to know about genetic mutations. A real eye-opener, and a great book to learn random facts in!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is taken there
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yall they changing meh into a cat.....should I be conscerned?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Liter the floor