Biology All books
This book affirms that we are at the dawn of a new type of medicine which will no longer be concerned only with palliative measures and repairs, but will also be capable of regenerating diseased tissues via the introduction of embryonic cells. This major upheaval will oblige us to reconsider the meaning of the individual and of life itself. Nicole Ledouarin teaches at the Collège de France.
Recent advances in genetic research have had widespread and far-reaching influences in fields as varied as animal and plant biology and medicine. They have also upset some ethical rules. Genetics today is in a triumphant, seductive phase, but its limits are yet to be defined. In this book, the eminent French geneticist Pierre Roubertoux argues that genetics has strayed too far from its justifiable areas of application. Soon, genetics may even be applied to the mind and to consciousness, just as it is already being applied to behaviour by scientists who contend that each type of conduct has its corresponding gene (this is tantamount to saying a specific gene is responsible for each virtue and each vice). Scientists who defend this theory say that they have discovered genes linked to various degrees of activity in mice and flies. Thus, intemperance and gluttony would be linked to a genetic partiality to alcohol, sugar or fats. Pride could be explained by a gene for dominance which has allegedly been found in mice. Greed, too, could be explained by a gene. The supposed existence of an infidelity gene was much in the news three years ago. This is a sound scientific synthesis which will enable readers to grasp the contribution of genetics to our comprehension of who and what we are. It should also help them resist the temptation of reducing everything to genetics. Pierre Roubertoux is a professor at the University of Aix-Marseille and a research fellow at the Institute of Physiological and Cognitive Neuroscience at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).
What is it that constitutes the unity and identity of a living creature ? This is the fundmental question of biology. The recent sequencing techniques provide a completely new response to this question, notably thanks to the knowledge of whole genomes. Antoine Danchin establishes a clear picture of this important biological discovery. He shows in particular that, just like the boat of Delphi, life is beyond prediction, and at the same time has an infinite capacity to create the unexpected. Antoine Danchin is the director of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the Institut Pasteur.
Rapid progress in the field of genetics is changing our lives in more ways than one. In order to understand these changes, Stuart Edelstein has approached each facet of the subject from three points of view: contemporary society and politics; technical developments; and basic research. By keeping to some fundamental points, this book will enable the lay reader to understand before judging the social implications of recent discoveries in biology. This is science with a civic sense. Stuart Edelstein teaches biochemistry at the University of Geneva.
In this book, the author, an expert in his field, describes the most fascinating stages in the eels biological cycle, its migrations and the modifications it undergoes during its life. Eels interest us not only because of their life and breeding cycles, but also because of the questions they raise concerning our ideas about evolution. Does the notion of adaptation suffice to explain everything the eel has become? Doesnt a living creature maintain a certain amount of independence in relation to the world that surrounds it? Or is the relationship between a living creature and the environment which surrounds it more complex that we have generally realised ?
Inspiring himself from La Philosophie dans le boudoir by Sade and the major philosophical works of the 18th century, Alain Prochiantz, who is a neurobiologist, explains by means of a dialogue, the progress of embryology and neurobiology and gives us the elements so that we can understand and measure the stakes of the recent discovery of the genes of development. Alain Prochiantz heads the Laboratory for the Development and Evolution of the Nervous System at the École normale supérieure. He is notably the author of Strategies of the Embryo, and Claude Bernard, the Physiological Revolution.