Download Free Radicals: The Secret Anarchy of Science by Michael Brooks PDF

By Michael Brooks

This can be a daring reveal of science's mavericks. For greater than a century, technological know-how has cultivated a sober public snapshot for itself. yet as bestselling writer Michael Brooks explains, in reality very varied: a lot of our so much profitable scientists have extra in universal with libertines than librarians. This exciting exploration of a few of the best breakthroughs in technology finds the extraordinary lengths a few scientists visit with a view to make their theories public. Fraud, suppressing proof and unethical or reckless PR video games are often essential to deliver the simplest and so much significant discoveries to the world's cognizance. idea can come from the main unorthodox of locations, and Brooks introduces us to Nobel laureates who get their principles via medications, desires and hallucinations. technological know-how is a hugely aggressive and ruthless self-discipline, and basically its such a lot made up our minds and passionate practitioners make headlines - and historical past. To prevail, wisdom needs to be pursued in any way: in technological know-how, something is going.

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Extra resources for Free Radicals: The Secret Anarchy of Science

Sample text

Bats, like song-birds and humans, also exhibit vocal learning. It makes language look like child’s play. When the scientists sequenced the entire FOXP2 gene in a range of echolocating and non-echolocating bats they found many different amino-acid substitutions in the resulting protein. These changes were not uniform along the gene but clustered in two of the exons— or coding sequences—exons 7 and 17. In several species of echolocating bats there was clear evidence for accelerated evolution. Leafnosed bats and all vesper or evening bats showed different mutations in exon 7; several species of echolocating bat shared aminoacid substitutions with whales—which also exhibit vocal learning; and in exon 17, amino-acid variation was considerable in all echolocating bats with up to eight different substitutions noted.

They ‘knocked out’ murine FOXP2. When both copies of the gene were tampered with the mice were very severely affected, their movement was badly impaired, and they died prematurely. However, when only one copy of FOXP2 was disrupted there was only mild developmental delay in the cerebellum and they were left with a communication block. When lifted away from their mothers, the pups failed to make any ultrasonic distress calls. When Buxbaum’s team analysed the vocalization patterns and the bandwidths of the vocalizations they concluded that much of the machinery in the vocal tract and brainstem associated with vocalizing was normal.

9 million years, whereas previous estimates, based on fossil evidence, had put it at 20 million. Our distant cousins were rapidly becoming part of our nuclear family. In his 1989 book The Rise And Fall Of The Third Chimpanzee Jared Diamond picked up this molecular data and ran with it. He invited us to consider an arresting thought experiment. Create a new enclosure in your local zoo, he suggested, and fill it with a number of human beings who have been stripped naked and reduced to visceral grunts.

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