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It took a little while to get into this book What I thought would be the most interesting mutations like conjoined twins were actually the least, which is perhaps why the author chose to put that chapter first Honestly, the most compelling studies were of things that are not as obvious mutations, like size, skin color or aging The scientific jargon can get a little intense at times, but it eases up as the book continues, and is worth slogging through The author treats the subject manner with true humanity managing to really present cases and histories without seeming exploitative, and explaining not only the what, but truly the why.I can t explain it, but somewhere along the way this book completely hooked and invaded my mind It changed the way that I looked and thought about things around me I m not sure if there s a tangible explanation This book is just elegant It makes you realize the beauty and delicacy of the human genome. Near the end of this book the author pulls out the quote per molto variare la natur e bella Nature s beauty is its variety and it could be a motto for the book itself Given that most of the book is about the human body developing dramatic abnormalities, usually during development, beauty is an odd word I found some accounts difficult to read But the ability for human biology to survive and sometimes prosper in so many different forms was just amazinga.The book is a discussion of various conditions that have very visible effects dwarfism, giantism, Siamese twins, people with no hands or feet, people with hands and feet but no arms and legs, people covered with hair than Chewbacca, and so on Some are fatal at birth, some at a young age, but most are not A surprising to me number of people founded lines still prospering today so a Chinese sailor missing the top his skull and clavicles founded a line that has several hundred descendants with the same symptoms.If the existence of a whole family sharing such an unusual trait makes you wonder if scientists can do some sort of genetic analysis and figure something out about how genes interact with the body, well, answering that is the book s main concern Spoiler alert Yes Most of the discussion is on gene expression and signalling pathways, in detail than I expected I d call it roughly a Scientific American level of discussion I m not well qualified to judge the scientific soundness but in the small number of cases I knew anything at all Leroi seems to have done a good job presenting both conclusions and uncertainty.The title presumably picked by the publisher is misleading though, as many problems are teratogenic or even nutritional and hove nothing to do with genetics Thalidomide and iodine deficiency induced issues, for example I don t begrudge Mutant for eye catching value but throwing in genetic in the subhead continues the annoying trend in popular science writing of implying everything biological is genetic. All my life, I have groaned inside and sometimes outside whenever someone spoke about the miracle of giving birth How miraculous is it, I would ask cynically and overly confident of my cleverness , if flies and jellyfish do it In fact, it s only one of the most basic functions living organisms perform, along with eating and pooping After reading this book, however, and learning about so many things that can happen during gestation that will render the fetus unviable, I am truly amazed, first, that organisms are born with such basic similarities to other members of their species and, second, that they are born at all I must admit that reproduction is, indeed, miraculous Don t get me wrong, my horror at pregnancy has not lessened, especially after reading about the coat of hair fetuses grow at five months and then shed a few weeks later And I thought defecating while trying to push the fetus out was horrifying Read. Trigger warnings There are some things in here that aren t in your average book on genetics, so I m going to make a little list of things to watch out for if you read this If I ve missed anything, let me know and I ll add it The book as a whole is not offensive at all, see my note after the list fetal development and ways it can go wrong This is discussed AT LENGTH, and it s not a bad thing, but I could imagine this being a TERRIBLE read if you re pregnant or have been lately discussion of research done on animals It s not condoned by the author necessarily, but I can picture some of my vegan friends being really upset by some of the details of surgery on fetal rabbits or the many, many things done to mice to advance understanding of genetics super squeamish people will find parts of this uncomfortable, and there are a few disturbing photos the absolute minimum of this is included, it s much less sensational than any other cabinet of curiosities type work, and the cool things you learn make it worthwhile It s much less intense than a trip to the Mutter museum But there were a couple of points where even I thought oh, god, that s ugh, and I am not easily grossed out When I was 12, I asked a doctor if I could have local anesthetic and watch my own wrist surgery racial stuff handled in a pretty classy way by the author, but anything that discusses the history of genetics research is going to include some uncomfortable moments This includes brief Nazi stuff, and other historical people did that to PEOPLE moments.The most impressive thing about this book to me, but there are many positive qualities on display is how the author includes anything that will further the text, but nothing else If I wrote this, there would be way too many digressions about the life stories of the mutants and scientists involved and it d be an Erik Larson style 700 pages If most scientists wrote this, it probably wouldn t include such a diversity of research and case studies and or be so clear and plainly but eloquently written Rarely is opinion mentioned, which is refreshing in writing on genetics Nazi experiments on siblings, however, are appropriately called out as horrifying It s impressive that this can be so illuminating and provocative without offending As for what s great about this book, I hardly know where to begin You d be better served by reading it than the lengthy thoughts it inspired If you read it on its own, you will find it fascinating if at times a little dry, and you will learn a lot about how genes make people If, on the other hand, you have a background studying biology, evolution, genetics, biochemistry, or related fields, you will find it connects lots of dots and illuminates a big picture in a really satisfying way Or at least, that was my experience And if you make a habit of reading pop books about biology and science, you will probably like most people here be amazed how well crafted it is compared to anything like it. Para todo aquel que le fascine la ciencia,,este va ser uno de sus libros favoritos El Profesor Leroi, no lleva a entender a los mutantes, que en la historia de la medicina han sido de gran ayuda para entender a biolog a de los seres viso La gracia es que combina de una manera magistral historias humanas con explicaciones cient ficas al m s alto nivel Personalmente soy cient fico y creo que su trabajo ha sido espectacular Tiene una facilidad envidiable de comunicar hechos complejos de una manera simple y amena Personalmente ya he usado algunos de sus ejemplos en clases y a los estudiantes les ha fascinado Gracias Prof Leroi por darnos este espectacular libro. If you are interested in biology in general, and genetics in particular, this is a must read The science is explained with just enough detail to make it accessable to the average reader with a modest scietific background The premis of the book is that we are all mutants, to one degree or another The relatively small percentage of genetic mutations that cause catastrophic deformities are the focus of the early part of the book At all times, the author treats those who have genetic mutations and deformity with respect, and there is no sensationalism that a book like this could have so easly degenerated into Much of the material deals with the less obvious mutations that give the human race its great variety. 4.5 Extremely interesting look at mankind, what is normal , and what is not Chapters include embryos, limbs, skeletons, growth, gender, skin and even aging e,g,, mutations resulting in accelerated aging query whether issues related to resulting from aging are in fact the result of mutations not breed out of us by natural selection due to them, by definition, only becoming issues after people have typically already had children Even the epilogue, focusing on racial variances and beauty, is fascinating Won justifiably several awards. *Download Book ☟ Mutants: On Genetic Variety and the Human Body ⇫ 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 NatureVisit Armand Marie Leroi On The Web Http Armandleroi IndexmlStepping Effortlessly From Myth To Cutting Edge Science, This is a beautifully written book that examines western societies understanding of genetic mutation, balancing historical interpretation through a lens of faith with modern science that was interesting enough to make me angry when I got interrupted while reading Honestly, this book is so much better than my review would have you believe. Life is beautiful, but the process of creating life involves variation and some of those variations have horrified and fascinated people through history This book alternates historical with contemporary understanding of mutants, to powerful effect A book purely of ancient misconceptions heh of science gets dull quickly A book purely of how we understand biology to work also gets dull quickly The author s explanation of historical understanding, and the elegant science writing makes this book much easier to read than it could have been.The science writing makes its subject fascinating the ballet dance of cells, the chemical flows of choreography, the cause and effect of markers, signals, and receptors The historical accounts of scientific investigation into mutants from 1600s modern times uncovers our mixed feelings towards mutants, the unpleasant treatment of people by scientists anatomists, and the giant opaque fog of ignorance through which which we shine the weak lamp of science and claim understanding.Some notes Deformity taken as mark of divine displeasure Des monstres by Ambroise Pare in 1500s marks first earthly non supernatural cause of deformity pregnant woman looking at something ugly, theory of maternal impressions teratology science of monsters Pseudodoxia Epidemica, or enquiries into the very many received tenents and commonly presumed truths 1646 by Sir Thomas Browne, the mythbusters of his day that the feathers of a dead kingfisher always indicate which way the wind is blowing, that the legs of badgers are shorter on one side than another, etc William Harvey in 1642 was allowed to dissect deer the king had shot, so saw progress month by month of deer embryos I saw long since a foetus, the magnitude of a peascod cut out of the uterus of a doe, which was complete in all its members I showed this pretty spectacle to our late King and Queen It did swim, trim and perfect, in such a kind of white, most transparent and crystalline moysture as if it had been treasured up in some most clear glassie receptacle about the bignesse of a pigeon s egge, and was invested with its proper coat Author of this book says The King apparently followed Harvey s investigations with great interest, and it is a poignant thought that when Charles I was executed, England lost a monarch with a taste for experimental embryology, a thing not likely to occur again soon William Harvey s De generatione animalium 1651 cover showed Zeus holding egg, egg with slogan Ex Ovo Omnia from the egg, all mutations alter the meaning of genes each new embryo has about a hundred new mutations that its parents did not have about four will alter the meaning of genes by changing amino acid sequence of proteins, three of which will be harmful Ritta and Christina Parodi, conjoined twins Parents prevented by Parisian authorities from exhibiting the girl s , had to live in poverty, died at eight months Body then heavily contested, eventually dissected in the big amphitheatre of Museum of Natural History Made reputations Australian Aborigines inscribed a memorial to a dicephalus two heads one body conjoined twin on a rock that lies near what are now the outskirts of Sydney 1300BC In a Kentish parish, loaves of bread in the shape of two women locked together side by side are distributed to the por every Easter Monday, a tradition, it is said, that dates from around the time of the Norman conquest and that commemorates a bequest made by a pair of conjoined twins who once lived there la querelle des monstres the quarrel of the monsters was over explanations for deformations was it God s beautiful mysterious work, or were they accidents If bodies were clocks, then there seemed to be a lot of clocks around that were hardly to the Clockmaker s credit Preformationism egg holds entire embryo writ small, containing its own eggs which contain vs epigenesis order emerges spontaneously after fertilisation Sir Thomas Browne called the womb the obscure world conjoined twins feature inverted organs in the twin heart on the right, etc 1 in 8500 infants are born without a twin but with their organs inverted Most famous was an old soldier who died at Les Invalides in 1688 Obscure in life just one of the thousands who, at the command of Louis XIV, had marched across Flanders, besieged Valenciennes and crossed the Rhine to chasten German princelings he achieved fame in his death when surgeons opened his chest and found his heart on the right In the 1600s Parisians wrote doggerel about him in the 1700s he featured in the quarelle des monstres debate in the 1800s he became an example of developmental arrest , the fashionable theory of the day Were he to appear on an autopsy slab today, he would hardly be famous, but would simply be diagnosed as having a congenital disorder called Kartagener s syndrome Kartaganer s people are sterile and with poor sense of smell cilia and sperm are driven by molecular motors that don t function because one of their proteins is encoded by a gene that is affected in Kartagener s.I m not up to page 60 and I m abandoning this note taking The book is fascinating, the writing is gently evocative, clear, and engaging update on finishing The book is exquisitely crafted evocative writing and elegant construction By alternating between the outlandish history where it s okay to marvel at freaks, as our predecessors did , and the contemporary science so beautifully described as to make us marvel at the details of miracle of life without feeling, as with so many biological science fact books, that there s so many details and so few principles that it s all dispassionate stamp collecting , Lerois has created that rare thing science writing that is both good science and good writing.