ǀ Read Format Kindle [ The Gene: An Intimate History (English Edition) eBook: Siddhartha Mukherjee: Amazon.fr: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l. ] ჷ Book By Siddhartha Mukherjee ᅘ The Gene The Walled Garden The students of heredity, especially, understand all of their subject except their subject They were, I suppose, bred and born in that brier patch, and have really explored it without coming to the end of it That is, they have studied everything but the question of what they are studying G K Chesterton, Eugenics and Other Evils Ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you Job 12 8 The monastery was originally a nunnery The monks of Saint Augustines Order had once livedas they often liked to grousein lavish circumstances in the ample rooms of a large stone abbey on the top of a hill in the heart of the medieval city of Brno Brno in Czech, Brnn in German The city had grown around them over four centuries, cascading down the slopes and then sprawling out over the flat landscape of farms and meadowlands below But the friars had fallen out of favor with Emperor Joseph II in 1783 The midtown real estate was far too valuable to house them, the emperor had decreed bluntlyand the monks were packed off to a crumbling structure at the bottom of the hill in Old Brno, the ignominy of the relocation compounded by the fact that they had been assigned to live in quarters originally designed for women The halls had the vague animal smell of damp mortar, and the grounds were overgrown with grass, bramble, and weeds The only perk of this fourteenth century buildingas cold as a meathouse and as bare as a prisonwas a rectangular garden with shade trees, stone steps, and a long alley, where the monks could walk and think in isolation The friars made the best of the new accommodations A library was restored on the second floor A study room was connected to it and outfitted with pine reading desks, a few lamps, and a growing collection of nearly ten thousand books, including the latest works of natural history, geology, and astronomy the Augustinians, fortunately, saw no conflict between religion and most science indeed, they embraced science as yet another testament of the workings of the divine order in the world A wine cellar was carved out below, and a modest refectory vaulted above it One room cells, with the most rudimentary wooden furniture, housed the inhabitants on the second floor In October 1843, a young man from Silesia, the son of two peasants, joined the abbey He was a short man with a serious face, myopic, and tending toward portliness He professed little interest in the spiritual lifebut was intellectually curious, good with his hands, and a natural gardener The monastery provided him with a home, and a place to read and learn He was ordained on August 6, 1847 His given name was Johann, but the friars changed it to Gregor Johann Mendel For the young priest in training, life at the monastery soon settled into a predictable routine In 1845, as part of his monastic education, Mendel attended classes in theology, history, and natural sciences at Brnos Theological College The tumult of 1848the bloody populist revolutions that swept fiercely through France, Denmark, Germany, and Austria and overturned social, political, and religious orderslargely passed him by, like distant thunder Nothing about Mendels early years suggested even the faintest glimmer of the revolutionary scientist who would later emerge He was disciplined, plodding, deferentiala man of habits among men in habits His only challenge to authority, it seemed, was his occasional refusal to wear the scholars cap to class Admonished by his superiors, he politely complied In the summer of 1848, Mendel began work as a parish priest in Brno He was, by all accounts, terrible at the job Seized by an unconquerable timidity, as the abbot described it, Mendel was tongue tied in Czech the language of most parishioners , uninspiring as a priest, and too neurotic to bear the emotional brunt of the work among the poor Later that year, he schemed a perfect way out he applied for a job to teach mathematics, natural sciences, and elementary Greek at the Znaim High School With a helpful nudge from the abbey, Mendel was selectedalthough there was a catch Knowing that he had never been trained as a teacher, the school asked Mendel to sit for the formal examination in the natural sciences for high school teachers In the late spring of 1850, an eager Mendel took the written version of the exam in Brno He failedwith a particularly abysmal performance in geology arid, obscure and hazy, one reviewer complained of Mendels writing on the subject On July 20, in the midst of an enervating heat wave in Austria, he traveled from Brno to Vienna to take the oral part of the exam On August 16, he appeared before his examiners to be tested in the natural sciences This time, his performance was even worsein biology Asked to describe and classify mammals, he scribbled down an incomplete and absurd system of taxonomyomitting categories, inventing others, lumping kangaroos with beavers, and pigs with elephants The candidate seems to know nothing about technical terminology, naming all animals in colloquial German, and avoiding systematic nomenclature, one of the examiners wrote Mendel failed again In August, Mendel returned to Brno with his exam results The verdict from the examiners had been clear if Mendel was to be allowed to teach, he needed additional education in the natural sciences advanced training than the monastery library, or its walled garden, could provide Mendel applied to the University of Vienna to pursue a degree in the natural sciences The abbey intervened with letters and pleas Mendel was accepted In the winter of 1851, Mendel boarded the train to enroll in his classes at the university It was here that Mendels problems with biologyand biologys problems with Mendelwould begin The night train from Brno to Vienna slices through a spectacularly bleak landscape in the winterthe farmlands and vineyards buried in frost, the canals hardened into ice blue venules, the occasional farmhouse blanketed in the locked darkness of Central Europe The river Thaya crosses the land, half frozen and sluggish the islands of the Danube come into view It is a distance of only ninety milesa journey of about four hours in Mendels time But the morning of his arrival, it was as if Mendel had woken up in a new cosmos In Vienna, science was crackling, electricalive At the university, just a few miles from his back alley boardinghouse on Invalidenstrasse, Mendel began to experience the intellectual baptism that he had so ardently sought in Brno Physics was taught by Christian Doppler, the redoubtable Austrian scientist who would become Mendels mentor, teacher, and idol In 1842, Doppler, a gaunt, acerbic thirty nine year old, had used mathematical reasoning to argue that the pitch of sound or the color of light was not fixed, but depended on the location and velocity of the observer Sound from a source speeding toward a listener would become compressed and register at a higher pitch, while sound speeding away would be heard with a drop in its pitch Skeptics had scoffed How could the same light, emitted from the same lamp, be registered as different colors by different viewers But in 1845, Doppler had loaded a train with a band of trumpet players and asked them to hold a note as the train sped forward As the audience on the platform listened in disbelief, a higher note came from the train as it approached, and a lower note emanated as it sped away Sound and light, Doppler argued, behaved according to universal and natural lawseven if these were deeply counterintuitive to ordinary viewers or listeners Indeed, if you looked carefully, all the chaotic and complex phenomena of the world were the result of highly organized natural laws Occasionally, our intuitions and perceptions might allow us to grasp these natural laws But commonly, a profoundly artificial experimentloading trumpeters on a speeding trainmight be necessary to understand and demonstrate these laws Dopplers demonstrations and experiments captivated Mendel as much as they frustrated him Biology, his main subject, seemed to be a wild, overgrown garden of a discipline, lacking any systematic organizing principles Superficially, there seemed to be a profusion of orderor rather a profusion of Orders The reigning discipline in biology was taxonomy, an elaborate attempt to classify and subclassify all living things into distinct categories Kingdoms, Phylae, Classes, Orders, Families, Genera, and Species But these categories, originally devised by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in the mid 1700s, were purely descriptive, not mechanistic The system described how to categorize living things on the earth, but did not ascribe an underlying logic to its organization Why, a biologist might ask, were living things categorized in this manner What maintained its constancy or fidelity What kept elephants from morphing into pigs, or kangaroos into beavers What was the mechanism of heredity Why, or how, did like beget like The question of likeness had preoccupied scientists and philosophers for centuries Pythagoras, the Greek scholarhalf scientist, half mysticwho lived in Croton around 530 BC, proposed one of the earliest and most widely accepted theories to explain the similarity between parents and their children The core of Pythagorass theory was that hereditary information likeness was principally carried in male semen Semen collected these instructions by coursing through a mans body and absorbing mystical vapors from each of the individual parts the eyes contributed their color, the skin its texture, the bones their length, and so forth Over a mans life, his semen grew into a mobile library of every part of the bodya condensed distillate of the self This self informationseminal, in the most literal sensewas transmitted into a female body during intercourse Once inside the womb, semen matured into a fetus via nourishment from the mother In reproduction as in any form of production mens work and womens work were clearly partitioned, Pythagoras argued The father provided the essential information to create a fetus The mothers womb provided nutrition so that this data could be transformed into a child The theory was eventually called spermism, highlighting the central role of the sperm in determining all the features of a fetus In 458 BC, a few decades after Pythagorass death, the playwright Aeschylus used this odd logic to provide one of historys most extraordinary legal defenses of matricide The central theme of Aeschyluss Eumenides is the trial of Orestes, the prince of Argos, for the murder of his mother, Clytemnestra In most cultures, matricide was perceived as an ultimate act of moral perversion In Eumenides, Apollo, chosen to represent Orestes in his murder trial, mounts a strikingly original argument he reasons that Orestess mother is no than a stranger to him A pregnant woman is just a glorified human incubator, Apollo argues, an intravenous bag dripping nutrients through the umbilical cord into her child The true forebear of all humans is the father, whose sperm carries likeness Not the true parent is the womans womb that bears the child, Apollo tells a sympathetic council of jurors She doth but nurse the seed, new sown The male is parent She for himas stranger for a strangerjust hoards the germ of life The evident asymmetry of this theory of inheritancethe male supplying all the nature and the female providing the initial nurture in her wombdidnt seem to bother Pythagorass followers indeed, they may have found it rather pleasing Pythagoreans were obsessed with the mystical geometry of triangles Pythagoras had learned the triangle theoremthat the length of the third side of a right angled triangle can be deduced mathematically from the length of the other two sidesfrom Indian or Babylonian geometers But the theorem became inextricably attached to his name henceforth called the Pythagorean theorem , and his students offered it as proof that such secret mathematical patternsharmonieswere lurking everywhere in nature Straining to see the world through triangle shaped lenses, Pythagoreans argued that in heredity too a triangular harmony was at work The mother and the father were two independent sides and the child was the thirdthe biological hypotenuse to the parents two lines And just as a triangles third side could arithmetically be derived from the two other sides using a strict mathematical formula, so was a child derived from the parents individual contributions nature from father and nurture from mother A century after Pythagorass death, Plato, writing in 380 BC, was captivated by this metaphor In one of the most intriguing passages in The Republicborrowed, in part, from PythagorasPlato argued that if children were the arithmetic derivatives of their parents, then, at least in principle, the formula could be hacked perfect children could be derived from perfect combinations of parents breeding at perfectly calibrated times A theorem of heredity existed it was merely waiting to be known By unlocking the theorem and then enforcing its prescriptive combinations, any society could guarantee the production of the fittest childrenunleashing a sort of numerological eugenics For when your guardians are ignorant of the law of births, and unite bride and bridegroom out of season, the children will not be goodly or fortunate, Plato concluded The guardians of his republic, its elite ruling class, having deciphered the law of births, would ensure that only such harmonious fortunate unions would occur in the future A political utopia would develop as a consequence of genetic utopia It took a mind as precise and analytical as Aristotles to systematically dismantle Pythagorass theory of heredity Aristotle was not a particularly ardent champion of women, but he nevertheless believed in using evidence as the basis of theory building He set about dissecting the merits and problems of spermism using experimental data from the biological world The result, a compact treatise titled Generation of Animals, would serve as a foundational text for human genetics just as Platos Republic was a founding text for political philosophy Aristotle rejected the notion that heredity was carried exclusively in male semen or sperm He noted, astutely, that children can inherit features from their mothers and grandmothers just as they inherit features from their fathers and grandfathers , and that these features can even skip generations, disappearing for one generation and reappearing in the next And from deformed parents deformed offspring comes to be, he wrote, just as lame come to be from lame and blind from blind, and in general they resemble often the features that are against nature, and have inborn signs such as growths and scars Some of such features have even been transmitted through three generations for instance, someone who had a mark on his arm and his son was born without it, but his grandson had black in the same place, but in a blurred way In Sicily a woman committed adultery with a man from Ethiopia the daughter did not become an Ethiopian, but her grand daughter did A grandson could be born with his grandmothers nose or her skin color, without that feature being visible in either parenta phenomenon virtually impossible to explain in terms of Pythagorass scheme of purely patrilineal heredity Aristotle challenged Pythagorass traveling library notion that semen collected hereditary information by coursing through the body and obtaining secret instructions from each individual part Men generate before they yet have certain characters, such as a beard or grey hair, Aristotle wrote perceptivelybut they pass on those features to their children Occasionally, the feature transmitted through heredity was not even corporeal a manner of walking, say, or a way of staring into space, or even a state of mind Aristotle argued that such traitsnot material to start withcould not materialize into semen And finally, and perhaps obviously, he attacked Pythagorass scheme with the most self evident of arguments it could not possibly account for female anatomy How could a fathers sperm absorb the instructions to produce his daughters generative parts, Aristotle asked, when none of these parts was to be found anywhere in the fathers body Pythagorass theory could explain every aspect of genesis except the most crucial one genitals Aristotle offered an alternative theory that was strikingly radical for its time perhaps females, like males, contribute actual material to the fetusa form of female semen And perhaps the fetus is formed by the mutual contributions of male and female parts Grasping for analogies, Aristotle called the male contribution a principle of movement Movement, here, was not literally motion, but instruction, or informationcode, to use a modern formulation The actual material exchanged during intercourse was merely a stand in for a obscure and mysterious exchange Matter, in fact, didnt really matter what passed from man to woman was not matter, but message Like an architectural plan for a building, or like a carpenters handiwork to a piece of wood, male semen carried the instructions to build a child Just as no material part comes from the carpenter to the wood in which he works, Aristotle wrote, but the shape and the form are imparted from him to the material by means of the motion he sets up In like manner, Nature uses the semen as a tool Female semen, in contrast, contributed the physical raw material for the fetuswood for the carpenter, or mortar for the building the stuff and the stuffing of life Aristotle argued that the actual material provided by females was menstrual blood Male semen sculpted menstrual blood into the shape of a child the claim might sound outlandish today, but here too Aristotles meticulous logic was at work Since the disappearance of menstrual blood is coincident with conception, Aristotle assumed that the fetus must be made from it Aristotle was wrong in his partitioning of male and female contributions into material and message, but abstractly, he had captured one of the essential truths about the nature of heredity The transmission of heredity, as Aristotle perceived it, was essentially the transmission of information Information was then used to build an organism from scratch message became material And when an organism matured, it generated male or female semen againtransforming material back to message In fact, rather than Pythagorass triangle, there was a circle, or a cycle, at work form begat information, and then information begat form Centuries later, the biologist Max Delbrck would joke that Aristotle should have been given the Nobel Prize posthumouslyfor the discovery of DNA But if heredity was transmitted as information, then how was that information encoded The word code comes from the Latin caudex, the wooden pith of a tree on which scribes carved their writing What, then, was the caudex of heredity What was being transcribed, and how How was the material packaged and transported from one body to the next Who encrypted the code, and who translated it, to create a child The most inventive solution to these questions was the simplest it dispensed of code altogether Sperm, this theory argued, already contained a minihumana tiny fetus, fully formed, shrunken and curled into a minuscule package and waiting to be progressively inflated into a baby Variations of this theory appear in medieval myths and folklore In the 1520s, the Swiss German alchemist Paracelsus used the minihuman in sperm theory to suggest that human sperm, heated with horse dung and buried in mud for the forty weeks of normal conception, would eventually grow into a human, although with some monstrous characteristics The conception of a normal child was merely the transfer of this minihumanthe homunculusfrom the fathers sperm into the mothers womb In the womb, the minihuman was expanded to the size of the fetus There was no code there was only miniaturization The peculiar charm of this ideacalled preformationwas that it was infinitely recursive Since the homunculus had to mature and produce its own children, it had to have preformed mini homunculi lodged inside ittiny humans encased inside humans, like an infinite series of Russian dolls, a great chain of beings that stretched all the way backward from the present to the first man, to Adam, and forward into the future For medieval Christians, the existence of such a chain of humans provided a most powerful and original understanding of original sin Since all future humans were encased within all humans, each of us had to have been physically present inside Adams bodyfloating in our First Parents loins, as one theologian describedduring his crucial moment of sin Sinfulness, therefore, was embedded within us thousands of years before we were bornfrom Adams loins directly to his line All of us bore its taintnot because our distant ancestor had been tempted in that distant garden, but because each of us, lodged in Adams body, had actually tasted the fruit The second charm of preformation was that it dispensed of the problem of de encryption Even if early biologists could fathom encryptionthe conversion of a human body into some sort of code by osmosis, la Pythagoras the reverse act, deciphering that code back into a human being, completely boggled the mind How could something as complex as a human form emerge out of the union of sperm and egg The homunculus dispensed of this conceptual problem If a child came already preformed, then its formation was merely an act of expansiona biological version of a blowup doll No key or cipher was required for the deciphering The genesis of a human being was just a matter of adding water The theory was so seductiveso artfully vividthat even the invention of the microscope was unable to deal the expected fatal blow to the homunculus In 1694, Nicolaas Hartsoeker, the Dutch physicist and microscopist, conjured a picture of such a minibeing, its enlarged head twisted in fetal position and curled into the head of a sperm In 1699, another Dutch microscopist claimed to have found homuncular creatures floating abundantly in human sperm As with any anthropomorphic fantasyfinding human faces on the moon, saythe theory was only magnified by the lenses of imagination pictures of homunculi proliferated in the seventeenth century, with the sperms tail reconceived into a filament of human hair, or its cellular head visualized as a tiny human skull By the end of the seventeenth century, preformation was considered the most logical and consistent explanation for human and animal heredity Men came from small men, as large trees came from small cuttings In nature there is no generation, the Dutch scientist Jan Swammerdam wrote in 1669, but only propagation But not everyone could be convinced that miniature humans were infinitely encased inside humans The principal challenge to preformation was the idea that something had to happen during embryogenesis that led to the formation of entirely new parts in the embryo Humans did not come pre shrunk and premade, awaiting only expansion They had to be generated from scratch, using specific instructions locked inside the sperm and egg Limbs, torsos, brains, eyes, faceseven temperaments or propensities that were inheritedhad to be created anew each time an embryo unfurled into a human fetus Genesis happened wellby genesis By what impetus, or instruction, was the embryo, and the final organism, generated from sperm and egg In 1768, the Berlin embryologist Caspar Wolff tried to finesse an answer by concocting a guiding principlevis essentialis corporis, as he called itthat progressively shepherded the maturation of a fertilized egg into a human form Like Aristotle, Wolff imagined that the embryo contained some sort of encrypted informationcodethat was not merely a miniature version of a human, but instructions to make a human from scratch But aside from inventing a Latinate name for a vague principle, Wolff could provide no further specifics The instructions, he argued obliquely, were blended together in the fertilized egg The vis essentialis then came along, like an invisible hand, and molded the formation of this mass into a human form While biologists, philosophers, Christian scholars, and embryologists fought their way through vicious debates between preformation and the invisible hand throughout much of the eighteenth century, a casual observer may have been forgiven for feeling rather unimpressed by it all This was, after all, stale news The opposing views of today were in existence centuries ago, a nineteenth century biologist complained, rightfully Indeed, preformation was largely a restatement of Pythagorass theorythat sperm carried all the information to make a new human And the invisible hand was, in turn, merely a gilded variant of Aristotles ideathat heredity was carried in the form of messages to create materials it was the hand that carried the instructions to mold an embryo In time, both the theories would be spectacularly vindicated, and spectacularly demolished Both Aristotle and Pythagoras were partially right and partially wrong But in the early 1800s, it seemed as if the entire field of heredity and embryogenesis had reached a conceptual impasse The worlds greatest biological thinkers, having pored over the problem of heredity, had scarcely advanced the field beyond the cryptic musings of two men who had lived on two Greek islands two thousand years earlier.With a marriage of architectural precision and luscious narrative, an eye for both the paradoxical detail and the unsettling irony, and a genius for locating the emotional truths buried in chemical abstractions, Mukherjee leaves you feeling as though youve just aced a college course for which youd been afraid to register and enjoyed every minute of it Andrew Solomon Washington Post Siddhartha Mukherjee is the perfect person to guide us through the past, present, and future of genome science It is up to all of usnot just scientists, government officials, and people fortunate enough to lead foundationsto think hard about these new technologies and how they should and should not be used Reading The Gene will get you the point where you can actively engage in that debate Bill Gates Gatesnotes The Gene is prodigious, sweeping, and ultimately transcendent If youre interested in what it means to be human, today and in the tomorrows to come, you must read this book Anthony Doerr, Pulitzer Prize winning author of All the Light We Cannot See Dramatic and precise A thrilling and comprehensive account of what seems certain to be the most radical, controversial and, to borrow from the subtitle, intimate science of our time He is a natural storyteller A page turner Read this book and steel yourself for what comes next Bryan Appleyard Sunday Times The story has been told, piecemeal, in different ways, but never before with the scope and grandeur that Siddhartha Mukherjee brings to his new history, The Gene He fully justifies the claim that it is one of the most powerful and dangerous ideas in the history of science Definitive James Gleick New York Times Book Review Gene therapy Wikipedia In the medicine field, gene also called human transfer is therapeutic delivery of nucleic acid into a patient s cells as drug to treat disease The first attempt at modifying DNA was performed in by Martin Cline, but successful nuclear humans, approved National Institutes Health, May Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen (Die Harry-Potter-Buchreihe 1)Siddhartha Mukherjee THE GENE An Intimate History Siddhartha author Emperor All Maladies A Biography Cancer, winner Pulitzer Prize general nonfiction, and Laws MedicineHe editor Best Science Writing History his latest work story quest decipher master code instructions that makes defines humans born July an Indian American physician, biologist, oncologist, He best known for book, Cancer won notable literary prizes including cancer physician researcher assistant professor Columbia University staff CU NYU Presbytarian Hospital Official Publisher Page Simon DrSidMukherjee Twitter Tweets from Speaker TED When he not ferreting out links between stem malignant blood disease, writes lectures on history future Author Maladies Medical Center Mukherjee, MD, DPhil Herbert Irving Hematologist oncologist New Delhi, India holds BS biology Stanford University, immunology Oxford where Rhodes Scholar , MD Harvard School The Mukherjee Winner Prize, now documentary Ken Burns PBS, magnificent, profoundly humane biography its documented appearances thousands years ago through epic battles twentieth century cure, control, conquer it radical new understanding essence How Dr Expert, Spends His Dec Working doesn t seem be enough action The Gene: An Intimate History (English Edition) eBook: Siddhartha Mukherjee: Amazon.fr: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- The Gene: An Intimate History (English Edition) eBook: Siddhartha Mukherjee: Amazon.fr: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Format Kindle
- 609 pages
- Siddhartha Mukherjee
- 18 September 2017 Siddhartha Mukherjee