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Have you ever wondered by in recent years there seems to be an increase in the number of children and adults with attention deficit disorder, depression, learning disabilities, autism, and anxiety. Dr. Comings proposes a provocative new theory in which the delaying of childbearing in those with longer periods of education indirectly results in the selection of genes for these disorders.
A sharp-eyed exploration of the promise and peril of having children in an age of genetic tests and interventions Is screening for disease in an embryo a humane form of family planning or a slippery slope toward eugenics? Should doctors tell you that your infant daughter is genetically predisposed to breast cancer? If tests revealed that your toddler has a genetic mutation whose significance isn’t clear, would you want to know? In The Gene Machine, the award-winning journalist Bonnie Rochman deftly explores these hot-button questions, guiding us through the new frontier of gene technology and how it is transforming medicine, bioethics, health care, and the factors that shape a family. Rochman tells the stories of scientists working to unlock the secrets of the human genome; genetic counselors and spiritual advisers guiding mothers and fathers through life-changing choices; and, of course, parents (including Rochman herself) grappling with revelations that are sometimes joyous, sometimes heartbreaking, but always profound. She navigates the dizzying and constantly expanding array of prenatal and postnatal tests, from carrier screening to genome sequencing, while considering how access to more tests is altering perceptions of disability and changing the conversation about what sort of life is worth living and who draws the line. Along the way, she highlights the most urgent ethical quandary: Is this technology a triumph of modern medicine or a Pandora’s box of possibilities? Propelled by human narratives and meticulously reported, The Gene Machine is both a scientific road map and a meditation on our power to shape the future. It is a book that gets to the very core of what it means to be human.
'Arvid Ågren has undertaken the most meticulously thorough reading of the relevant literature that I have ever encountered, deploying an intelligent understanding to pull it into a coherent story. As if that wasn't enough, he gets it right.' (Richard Dawkins) To many evolutionary biologists, the central challenge of their discipline is to explain adaptation, the appearance of design in the living world. With the theory of evolution by natural selection, Charles Darwin elegantly showed how a purely mechanistic process can achieve this striking feature of nature. Since then, the way many biologists have thought about evolution and natural selection is as a theory about individual organisms. Over a century later, a subtle but radical shift in perspective emerged with the gene's-eye view of evolution in which natural selection was conceptualized as a struggle between genes for replication and transmission to the next generation. This viewpoint culminated with the publication of The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins (Oxford University Press, 1976) and is now commonly referred to as selfish gene thinking. The gene's-eye view has subsequently played a central role in evolutionary biology, although it continues to attract controversy. The central aim of this accessible book is to show how the gene's-eye view differs from the traditional organismal account of evolution, trace its historical origins, clarify typical misunderstandings and, by using examples from contemporary experimental work, show why so many evolutionary biologists still consider it an indispensable heuristic. The book concludes by discussing how selfish gene thinking fits into ongoing debates in evolutionary biology, and what they tell us about the future of the gene's-eye view of evolution. The Gene's-Eye View of Evolution is suitable for graduate-level students taking courses in evolutionary biology, behavioural ecology, and evolutionary genetics, as well as professional researchers in these fields. It will also appeal to a broader, interdisciplinary audience from the social sciences and humanities including philosophers and historians of science.
First published in 1957, this essential classic work bridged the gap between analytical and theoretical biology, thus setting the insights of the former in a context which more sensitively reflects the ambiguities surrounding many of its core concepts and objectives. Specifically, these five essays are concerned with some of the major problems of classical biology: the precise character of biological organisation, the processes which generate it, and the specifics of evolution. With regard to these issues, some thinkers suggest that biological organisms are not merely distinguishable from inanimate ‘things’ in terms of complexity, but are in fact radically different qualitatively: they exemplify some constitutive principle which is not elsewhere manifested. It is the desire to bring such ideas into conformity with our understanding of analytical biology which unifies these essays. They explore the contours of a conceptual framework sufficiently wide to embrace all aspects of living systems.
Completion of the Human Genome Project will make possible a staggering array of new medical technologies, including new diagnostic and screening tests for inherited disorders, gene therapies, and the ability to manipulate a person's inherited, non-disease traits. Most of the attention given to the social implications of these technologies has focused on their potential to harm the individual, for example, by denying employment or insurance. This book explores instead the potential harm to society if we unfairly distribute the enormous benefits of genetic technologies. The resulting division of society into genetic haves and have-nots would undermine the basic foundation of Western democratic society—the belief in equality of opportunity. This book explains, in terms that can be understood by the general reader, how DNA works, what the Human Genome Project is, what these genetic technologies are and what they promise, and how they could disrupt our democratic society. In an original contribution to the literature, the book then discusses the alternatives for avoiding the creation of a genetic underclass, ranging from halting the Human Genome Project itself to making genetic technologies available without regard to ability to pay. The authors' provocative conclusion is that a lottery in which everyone has a chance to obtain access to these technologies is the only feasible option. This book will be of interest to anyone who wishes to learn more about the Human Genome Project and the genetic revolution that it will create, as well as those who already are familiar with the project and are concerned about the social consequences of its scientific developments.
Every year there are new and exciting developments in assisted human reproduction, but how much do we really know about the underlying causes of infertility? This volume explores recent progress in the understanding of the genetics of spermatogenesis and male infertility. Topics include fundamental advances and current problems in the development and function of the testis, an outline of clinical findings in male infertility and an overview of the role of the Y chromosome in male fertility. Comprehensive critiques of posttranscriptional control during spermatogenesis, mammalian meiotic sterility, and comparative genetics of human spermatogenesis from the perspective of yeast, Drosophila and mice provide a global overview of the field.
The Genome Incorporated examines the proliferation of human genomics across contemporary media cultures. It explores questions about what it means for a technoscience to thoroughly saturate everyday life, and places the interrogation of the science/media relationship at the heart of this enquiry. The book develops a number of case studies in the mediation and consumption of genomics, including: the emergence of new direct-to-the-consumer bioinformatics companies; the mundane propagation of testing and genetic information through lifestyle television programming; and public and private engagements with art and science institutions and events. Through these novel sites, this book examines the proliferating circuits of production and consumption of genetic information and theorizes this as a process of incorporation. Its wide-ranging case studies ensure its appeal to readers across the social sciences.