432 pages, Col photos, illus
The 20th century was an era of great biomedical discoveries: the development of antibiotics and other lifesaving medications, new insights into the genetic code and the workings of the brain, refined techniques for cloning and organ transplantation. However, many of the discoveries seem mysterious to the layperson who has never heard of x-ray crystallography or who is unfamiliar with the ways that genes and proteins direct the workings of the body. This illustrated volume aims to unravel the mysteries, allowing readers to explore biomedical research and to understand its impact on the fight against human disease. In his introduction, Philip Leder describes a revolution through every area of biomedicine - immunology, brain chemistry, parasitology, develomental biology - which has granted an intimacy with nature's workings which was once unimaginable. The text goes on to tell the human stories behind the research; the scientists' excitement at new discoveries and their competition and co-operation on the development of treatments for Lyme disease, sickle cell anaemia and AIDS. The reader is also shown creative problem-solving, as one scientist inserts the gene for luciferase - a protein from fireflies - into a strain of tuberculosis, thus producing lab samples that glow in the dark. Throughout, the patients' perspective is also shown, detailing the symptoms of malaria or cystic fibrosis or showing how the treatment of haemophilia has changed over the years.
A vivid example of how biology, history, and medicine interact to focus on human welfare.--Jos? V?zquez "American Biology Teacher "
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