Adam's Curse by Bryan Sykes

By Bryan Sykes

The within tale of the Y chromosome's deadly flaw, as informed via one of many world's top 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 stunning stories, concentrating on the defining attribute of guys: the Y chromosome of their DNA. Guiding his readers via chapters like "The Blood of Vikings" and "Ribbons of Life," Sykes masterfully blends common heritage 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 consists of inside of it the seeds of his destruction. well timed and engaging, this significant paintings covers a wealth of debatable issues, together with no matter if there's a genetic reason for male greed, aggression, and promiscuity; the potential life of a male gay gene; and what, if something, will be performed to avoid wasting males from a gradual, yet convinced, extinction.

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There is nothing more to be done now. Either the cells will grow or they will die. After three long days, I arrive back in the lab knowing that, if all goes to plan, today is the day I will see my chromosomes for the first time. Kathryn takes the tube of cells from the incubator. The white cells are still invisible, the colour of the liquid still dominated by the haemoglobins of my red blood cells. Though they vastly outnumber their pale companions, they will not have divided over the past three days.

The second glass dish contains the vital ingredient responsible for the dark and light pattern of bands that we will use to tell the chromosomes apart. This is trypsin, the enzyme made by the pancreas to digest proteins on their way through the small intestine. Nobody really knows precisely what it does or exactly how it works. It probably scours away some of the protein scaffold around which the DNA is wound, exposing parts of the chromosome to the stain while protecting others. In this respect it is 44 THE LONELY CHROMOSOME rather like batik, where beeswax shields the parts of the cloth that are not to be dyed.

He had given up his experimental breeding to take on the burden of running the monastery, and died of kidney failure in 1884. 52 RIBBONS OF LIFE The confluence of Mendel's brilliant theoretical deductions and the clear views biologists now had of chromosomes and their peculiar behaviour under their microscopes very quickly crystallized into a new hypothesis - that chromosomes were the physical embodiment of Mendel's genes. The unexplained partition of chromosomes in the sea-urchin eggs became suddenly full of meaning.

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