Leonardo’s Choice: Genetic Technologies and Animals

Springer Science & Business Media
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Leonardo’s Choice: Genetic Technologies and Animals is an edited collection of twelve essays and one dialogue focusing on the profound affect the use of animals in biotechnology is having on both humans and other species. Communicating crucial understandings of the integrated nature of the human and non-human world, these essays, unlike the majority of discussions of biotechnology, take seriously the impact of these technologies on animals themselves. This collection’s central questions revolve around the disassociation Western ideas of creative freedom have from the impacts those ideas and practices have on the non-human world.

This transdisciplinary collection includes perspectives from the disciplines of philosophy, cultural theory, art and literary theory, history and theory of science, environmental studies, law, landscape architecture, history, and geography. Included authors span three continents and four countries.

Included essays contribute significantly to a growing scholarship surrounding "the question of the animal" emanating from philosophical, cultural and activist discourses. Its authors’ are at the forefront of the growing number of theorists and practioners across the disciplines concerned with the impact of new technologies on the more-than-human world.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Springer Science & Business Media
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Published on
Sep 18, 2009
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9789048124794
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
Philosophy / General
Science / Life Sciences / Genetics & Genomics
Science / Philosophy & Social Aspects
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Nonpareil science writer David Quammen explains how recent discoveries in molecular biology can change our understanding of evolution and life’s history, with powerful implications for human health and even our own human nature.

In the mid-1970s, scientists began using DNA sequences to reexamine the history of all life. Perhaps the most startling discovery to come out of this new field—the study of life’s diversity and relatedness at the molecular level—is horizontal gene transfer (HGT), or the movement of genes across species lines. It turns out that HGT has been widespread and important. For instance, we now know that roughly eight percent of the human genome arrived not through traditional inheritance from directly ancestral forms, but sideways by viral infection—a type of HGT.

In The Tangled Tree David Quammen, “one of that rare breed of science journalists who blends exploration with a talent for synthesis and storytelling” (Nature), chronicles these discoveries through the lives of the researchers who made them—such as Carl Woese, the most important little-known biologist of the twentieth century; Lynn Margulis, the notorious maverick whose wild ideas about “mosaic” creatures proved to be true; and Tsutomu Wantanabe, who discovered that the scourge of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a direct result of horizontal gene transfer, bringing the deep study of genome histories to bear on a global crisis in public health.

“Quammen is no ordinary writer. He is simply astonishing, one of that rare class of writer gifted with verve, ingenuity, humor, guts, and great heart” (Elle). Now, in The Tangled Tree, he explains how molecular studies of evolution have brought startling recognitions about the tangled tree of life—including where we humans fit upon it. Thanks to new technologies such as CRISPR, we now have the ability to alter even our genetic composition—through sideways insertions, as nature has long been doing. The Tangled Tree is a brilliant guide to our transformed understanding of evolution, of life’s history, and of our own human nature.
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