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Download Adam's Curse by Bryan Sykes PDF

By Bryan Sykes

The within tale of the Y chromosome's deadly flaw, as advised by way of one of many world's major geneticists.

Male reproductive fragility has been the topic of a lot hugely publicized fresh learn. Is it attainable, requested the New York Times, that males face extinction? Bryan Sykes examines the validity of those stunning studies, concentrating on the defining attribute of guys: the Y chromosome of their DNA. Guiding his readers via chapters like "The Blood of Vikings" and "Ribbons of Life," Sykes masterfully blends normal historical past with medical truth, elucidating the biology of sexual replica, sleek genetics, and evolutionary biology. He finds that, whereas the Y chromosome makes man's lifestyles attainable, it additionally consists of inside 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 potential lifestyles of a male gay gene; and what, if whatever, should be performed to save lots of males from a sluggish, yet yes, extinction.

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By the time the centrifuge reaches its maximum speed, the tube is spinning at twenty revolutions a second and the cells, red and white alike, are hurtling towards its base. After five minutes they have all collected at the bottom, the centrifuge sighs as the motor slows and the tube comes to a rest. There, tightly packed in a dark red pellet at the bottom of the tube, are my blood cells. They are still alive, but not for very much longer. Kathryn draws off the old culture 39 ADAM'S CURSE fluid with a pipette.

Back beyond that it vanishes into the mist. 46 THE LONELY CHROMOSOME My other chromosomes, lying contentedly on the glass slide, have come down to me from a mixture of ancestors. Theirs is a cacophony of different sounds, both male and female, individual voices are drowned in the throng of noise. It is only my Y-chromosome that now speaks with a single voice, one that has come to me from generations of men. It stands alone, a perfect copy of the chromosome that lived in my father and in my father's father and in a thousand others of my paternal ancestors stretching back to thirteenth-century Yorkshire and way beyond, back through thousands upon thousands of men into the far distant past.

They were XXY flies. And they were female. Perfectly normal, fertile and fully functional females. The same kind of chromosome nondysjunction in female flies also produced eggs with no X-chromosomes, a sort of mirror image of the double-X egg. When these were fertilized, by sperm containing an X-chromosome, they produced offspring with just one X-chromosome, but without a Y. And these flies were males. They looked perfectly normal but were in fact sterile. Bridges concluded correctly that the sex of fruit flies depends simply on the number of X-chromosomes.

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