Triumph of the Embryo

Triumph of the Embryo
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  • ISBN-13: 9780198542438
  • ISBN: 0198542437
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated


Wolpert, Lewis


Of the great mysteries that face modern biologists, one of the most intriguing concerns the development of the microscopic embryo into exceedingly complex plants and animals--into roses and cacti, elephants and blue whales, apes and human beings. How does one cell give rise to so many millions of cells? How do they divide so as to form hearts, brains, eyes, and ears? Where in this pin-head-sized object is all this information encoded? Now, in The Triumph of the Embryo, British biologist Lewis Wolpert treats general readers to a lucid tour of embryology, offering the latest theories in this fascinating field. Like the best scientist-authors, Wolpert's writing is filled with rich and unusual examples, metaphors, and descriptions. Nor does he hesitate to move beyond his overall narrative to discuss the many issues it raises, such as aging, cancer, regeneration, and evolution. Readers discover why all calico cats are female; encounter a zebra-striped mouse and a fruit fly engineered to grow a leg out of its head; and consider such topics as why "cell death" is important in sculpting the body or why there seems to be a 110 year age barrier for the human body. Wolpert also traces the early history of the field, ranging from the original conflict of embryology raised by Aristotle right up to the belief (held even in the 19th century) that every human spermatozoa contained a fully-developed human being. And he illuminates modern embryology, sharing with readers a glimpse of the forefront of the field, including such groundbreaking concepts as CAMs (cell adhesion molecules) and induction (a mode of cell interaction whose discovery won the only Nobel Prize in embryology). To Wolpert, the triumph of the embryo is its ability to exploit with brilliant success a group of basic, elegant, and universal mechanisms in order to develop into a fully formed creature--no matter if it's to become a hydra or a horse. To readers, the triumph of The Triumph of the Embryo is Lewis Wolpert's ability to tell us all about it.Wolpert, Lewis is the author of 'Triumph of the Embryo' with ISBN 9780198542438 and ISBN 0198542437.

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