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Good Reads  Organismal to Molecular Biology  Genetics & Genomics

A Guinea Pig's History of Biology The Plants and Animals Who Taught us the Facts of Life

Popular Science
By: Jim Endersby(Author)
498 pages, no illustrations
Publisher: Arrow Books
A Guinea Pig's History of Biology
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  • A Guinea Pig's History of Biology ISBN: 9780099471240 Paperback May 2008 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 6 days
  • A Guinea Pig's History of Biology ISBN: 9780434012596 Hardback May 2007 Out of Print #169677
Selected version: £16.99
About this book Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

The triumphs of recent biology – understanding hereditary disease, the modern theory of evolution – are all thanks to the fruit fly, the guinea pig, the zebra fish and a handful of other organisms, which have helped us unravel one of life's greatest mysteries – inheritance.

Jim Endersby traces his story from Darwin hand-pollinating passion flowers in his back garden in an effort to find out whether his decision to marry his cousin had harmed their children, to today's high-tech laboratories, full of shoals of shimmering zebra fish, whose bodies are transparent until they are mature, allowing scientists to watch every step as a single fertilised cell multiples to become millions of specialised cells that make up a new fish. Each story has – piece by piece – revealed how DNA determines the characteristics of the adult organism. Not every organism was as cooperative as the fruit fly or zebra fish, some provided scientists with misleading answers or encouraged them to ask the wrong questions.

Customer Reviews


Jim Endersby is a Research Fellow at Darwin College, Cambridge. Hewon the Jerwood Prize, for first non-fiction work-in-progress, for A Guinea-Pig's History of Biology.

Popular Science
By: Jim Endersby(Author)
498 pages, no illustrations
Publisher: Arrow Books
Media reviews

"Try to skim this book and you'll find yourself drawn into reading every word. Eye-opening and entertaining, this is cutting-edge history of science that everyone should read [...] Throughout his gripping narrative, Jim Endersby shows how today's right answer is almost always tomorrow's wrong one."
New Scientist

"Endersby's technique is a wonderfully roundabout way of telling some of the great stories of modern biology."
Daily Mail

"Jim Endersby has come up with a fresh and rewarding approach. He illuminates the story of our understanding of life since 1800 [...] easily readable account of the remarkable progress biologists have made over the past two centuries."
Sunday Telegraph

"A highly entertaining and original book [...] Endersby provides a new perspective on the history of genetics."
Sunday Times

"With an enviable lightness of touch, Endersby weaves his scientific threads into a much broader tapestry of cultural history [...] [an] accessible and engaging account to find out how we got here."
The Guardian

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