Download Adam's Curse by Bryan Sykes PDF

By Bryan Sykes

The within tale of the Y chromosome's deadly flaw, as advised via one of many world's prime geneticists.

Male reproductive fragility has been the topic of a lot hugely publicized fresh examine. Is it attainable, requested the New York Times, that males face extinction? Bryan Sykes examines the validity of those surprising 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 usual background with medical truth, elucidating the biology of sexual copy, smooth genetics, and evolutionary biology. He finds that, whereas the Y chromosome makes man's lifestyles attainable, it additionally incorporates inside of it the seeds of his destruction. well timed and interesting, this significant paintings covers a wealth of debatable subject matters, together with even if there's a genetic reason for male greed, aggression, and promiscuity; the prospective life of a male gay gene; and what, if something, might be performed to save lots of males from a gradual, yet sure, extinction.

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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. I know very well the enormity of the technical achievement of the Human Genome Project in deciphering the whole sequence, the millions upon millions of smaller sequences that had to be overlain and stitched together to give the final unimaginably long sequence. I was used to describing the genome in metaphors of vast distances - pointing out, say, that if all our DNA stretched from London to San Francisco, a typical gene would only be one inch long.

Though this was not the same hospital, the long, brightly lit corridors and the faintly sweet smell of boiled vegetables which hung in the air returned me at once to that day long ago when I was admitted. I was nine years old and I had contracted bacterial meningitis. I was in hospital for three weeks, and only years later did I realize how lucky I had been to survive. I remember vividly that my greatest fear was not of a relapse or any lingering long-term effects from the infection; it was of the blood test which the nurse told me to expect before I was allowed home.

I dry the slide, protect it with a wafer of the thinnest glass imaginable and take it across to the microscope. Scanning the field, I pick what looks like a good cluster of chromosomes. From what I can see they are nicely spread out. With this cluster at the centre of the field, I click a 45 ADAM'S CURSE high-power lens into position and look through the eyepiece. There they are - my chromosomes. This time they are each marked with a striated pattern of light and dark bands that cut across their length.

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