Adam's Curse by Bryan Sykes PDF

By Bryan Sykes

ISBN-10: 0552149896

ISBN-13: 9780552149891

The inside of tale of the Y chromosome's deadly flaw, as advised by means of one of many world's top geneticists.

Male reproductive fragility has been the topic of a lot hugely publicized fresh study. Is it attainable, requested the New York Times, that males face extinction? Bryan Sykes examines the validity of those stunning stories, targeting the defining attribute of fellows: the Y chromosome of their DNA. Guiding his readers via chapters like "The Blood of Vikings" and "Ribbons of Life," Sykes masterfully blends traditional background with medical truth, elucidating the biology of sexual copy, sleek genetics, and evolutionary biology. He unearths that, whereas the Y chromosome makes man's lifestyles attainable, it additionally contains inside of it the seeds of his destruction. well timed and interesting, this significant paintings covers a wealth of arguable themes, together with even if there's a genetic reason for male greed, aggression, and promiscuity; the prospective lifestyles of a male gay gene; and what, if whatever, might be performed to avoid wasting males from a gradual, yet yes, extinction.

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There are a dozen small clumps of dark flecks among the intact cells. These flecks, barely visible at this magnification, are my chromosomes, the bare embodiment of my genetic identity - and I am seeing them for the very first time. I look again and change the lens to a higher magnification. Now I see only a few clumps of chromosomes. How very small these things look. I am more used to describing the vastness of the genome, accustomed to marvelling at the three thousand million DNA letters from which it is built.

From his breeding experiments with plants, the Czech monk Gregor Mendel had deduced by the middle of the nineteenth century that pollen and eggs each had only one set of genes while adult plants had not one but two sets. He predicted that, when an egg was fertilized by a pollen grain, their two single gene sets must combine to reconstitute the double set of genes in the seed. When the 51 ADAM'S CURSE seed grew into another adult plant, each cell retained the two complete sets of genes. By the late nineteenth century, biologists studying the conveniently large eggs of sea urchins had actually seen chromosomes behaving in exactly that way - but, as they were unaware of Mendel's predictions, they did not make the connection between these strange threads and the secrets of inheritance.

Then the miracle occurs. Invisible breaks appear deep inside the touching arms. Very gently the cut end of one chromosome seeks out and joins with the break that has opened up in its partner. Healing enzymes close the wounds and the chromosomes begin to pull clear of their embrace. As they separate for the last time they linger for a final moment around the places where these intimate exchanges have taken place until, at last, they are pulled apart by the force of life and are parted for ever. What can be the purpose of this strange liaison?

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Adam's Curse by Bryan Sykes


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