Genes and Development: What Is the Current Status?

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Reviews the book, Coming to Life: How Genes Drive Development by Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard (see record 2006-08269-000). In Coming to Life: How Genes Drive Development, Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard writes about the specialty in which she won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1995. She, in this brief volume, addresses esoteric and arcane aspects of biology that are of current concern in political discourse throughout the world. Her writing helps the uninitiated individual in biology to understand the basic components of Darwin's theory of evolution and Mendel's laws of heredity. In the last chapter of the book she addresses the topics of cloning, designer babies, the use of human embryonic stem cells, and the moral status of the embryo. This last chapter, in addition to the chapter on evolution, body plans, and genomes, is enough information to permit the motivated reader to better understand the possibilities and probabilities of the topics raised in the last chapter actually occurring. The author develops topics and issues that are rarely, if ever, discussed in everyday conversation or, for that matter, in any forum unless one happens to be a biologist. The information the author presents is specialized. The reader must be curious and motivated to attempt to understand evolutionary development. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)

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