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&i;Coming to Life&o; is a remarkable journey through developmental biology to reveal the current state of knowledge of the microscopic world of cells, in particular in relation to the creation of animal life. Leading the reader step-by-step through groundbreaking discoveries, Nusslein-Volhard provides answers to some of the most intriguing questions of science, explains the genetic mechanisms that influence adult development, and shares insights into the ethical standards society must uphold in the face of new scientific discoveries. In a text which examines crucial issues with beguiling simplicity, she leads us to understand why children look like their parents, how an embryonic cell knows to become an eye rather than an eyelash, why twins can be identical, or profoundly different, and why bacteria are sexless. She shows that cancer is a genetic mutation, why cloning is genetically unsuccessful, and why 'designer babies' are scientifically problematic.
Illustrated with the author's own hand-drawn diagrams, the book provides rare insight into the passionate commitment of a great scientist.