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By Bryan Sykes

The within tale of the Y chromosome's deadly flaw, as instructed through one of many world's prime geneticists.

Male reproductive fragility has been the topic of a lot hugely publicized contemporary study. Is it attainable, requested the New York Times, that males face extinction? Bryan Sykes examines the validity of those stunning experiences, concentrating on the defining attribute of fellows: the Y chromosome of their DNA. Guiding his readers via chapters like "The Blood of Vikings" and "Ribbons of Life," Sykes masterfully blends ordinary heritage with clinical truth, elucidating the biology of sexual replica, glossy genetics, and evolutionary biology. He finds that, whereas the Y chromosome makes man's life attainable, it additionally contains inside of it the seeds of his destruction. well timed and engaging, this significant paintings covers a wealth of arguable issues, together with even if there's a genetic reason for male greed, aggression, and promiscuity; the prospective lifestyles of a male gay gene; and what, if something, could be performed to save lots of males from a sluggish, yet definite, extinction.

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Example text

The microscope beside me now in the genetics laboratory is less beautiful but has an incomparably better optical performance. I slide the glass under the lens and look through the binocular eyepiece, adjusting its width to fit the separation of my own eyes. Slowly turning the knurled wheel on my right, I focus down on the slide. The blurred images of spheres become sharp and, as they come into focus, I find myself looking at about a hundred translucent circles against a greenish background. These are my intact white cells, the ones which had not ruptured.

He realized that the degree to which the features were retained in the offspring was different for different pairs of these mischievous genetic characters. For example, in the eye-colour/wingshape case we took as an example, the combination in the parent fly stayed together in about 70 per cent of the offspring flies and fell apart in the other 30 per cent. Some of the new pairs of features which Sturtevant uncovered stayed together more often than this in the offspring, while other pairs remained together less often.

47 3 R I B B O N S OF LIFE I have drawn you into this story with only the briefest of introductions to its main characters, the chromosomes and their vital cargo - the DNA that makes us what we are. DNA, the lexicon of heredity, is a code; and it is among the very simplest codes imaginable, written in just four letters. It is the precise sequence of these letters which matters. But what is sending and what is receiving this coded message? The receivers are the production units within each cell, which fashion proteins from aminoacids.

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