How Our Bodies Fight Disease, Attract Others, and Define Our Selves
Author: Daniel Michael Davis
Publisher: Oxford University Press (UK)
The Compatibility Gene takes readers on a global journey of discovery spanning 60 years, involving scores of scientists, and encompassing the history of transplants and immunology. That journey has revealed astonishing links between who we are as individuals and our never-ceasing struggle to survive disease. Most of the 25,000 genes we possess are the same for all of us. Compatibility genes are those that vary most from person to person and give each of us a unique molecular signature. These genes determine both the extent to which we are susceptible to a vast range of illnesses and the different ways each of us fights disease. In The Compatibility Gene, distinguished immunologist Daniel Davis draws on new research to suggest a number of even more fascinating-and controversial-conclusions about compatibility genes: that we find others more or less sexy according to their compatibility genes (dating services are starting to match people in this way); that the wiring between some neurons is kept or broken according to the activity of compatibility genes; and that compatibility genes influence the chances of a couple having a successful pregnancy. Profoundly personal, life-forming and life-changing decisions appear to be governed by the actions of a few inherited genes. Most importantly, Davis proposes that because we each respond slightly differently to any particular disease, in the not-too-distant future vaccines and other medications may be tailored to match our compatibility genes, a revolutionary breakthrough in the fight against disease. Including vivid portraits of the scientists who worked tirelessly to unlock the secrets of compatibility genes, as well as patients who survived disease due to lucky genetic inheritances, The Compatibility Gene explains an aspect of human biology that will undoubtedly have profound impacts on medical practice in the 21st Century.
The Compatibility Gene is a scientific adventure story set in a new field of genetic discovery - that of the crucial genes that define our relationships, our health and our individuality. Here, Daniel M Davis, one of the leading scientists in the field, tells us the story of its groundbreaking developments that have the potential to change us all We each possess a similar set of around 25,000 human genes. Yet a tiny, distinctive cluster of these genes plays a disproportionately large part in how our bodies work. These few genes, argues Daniel M. Davis, hold the key to who we are as individuals and our relationship to the world: how we combat disease, how our brains are wired, how attractive we are, even how likely we are to reproduce. In The Compatibility Gene, one of our foremost immunologists tells the remarkable history of these genes' discovery and the unlocking of their secrets. From the British scientific pioneers who, during the Second World War, struggled to understand the mysteries of transplants and grafts, to the Swiss zoologist who devised an entirely new method of assessing potential couples' compatibility based on the smell of worn T-shirts, Davis traces what is nothing less than a scientific revolution in our understanding of the human body: a global adventure spanning some sixty years. Davis shows how the compatibility gene is radically transforming our knowledge of the way our bodies work - and is having profound consequences for medical research and ethics. Looking to the future, he considers the startling possibilities of what these wondrous discoveries might mean for you and me. Who am I? What makes me different from everyone else? Daniel Davis recounts the remarkable science that has answered one version of these questions. 'He makes immunology as fascinating to popular science readers as cosmology, consciousness, and evolution' Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and the author of How the Mind Works and The Better Angels of Our Nature 'Davis weaves a warm biographical thread through his tale of scientific discovery, revealing the drive and passion of those in the vanguard of research ... unusual results, astonishing implications and ethical dilemmas' The Times 'Davis makes the twists and turns all count' Guardian 'A fascinating, expertly told story' Michael Brooks, New Statesman Daniel M. Davis is director of research at the University of Manchester's Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research and a visiting professor at Imperial College, London. He has published over 100 academic papers, including papers in Nature and Science, and Scientific American, and lectures all over the world, including at the Royal Institution. He has previously won the Oxford University Press Science Writing Prize, and has given numerous interviews for national and international media, including the Times, Guardian, Metro, and National Public Radio (USA). A major feature on his research was published in The Times. Experiments filmed in his laboratory were shown in the BBC series 'The History of Medicine' (2008). He also keenly engages in broad scientific affairs, recently publishing a view on UK science funding policies in Nature.
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The Revolution in Immunology and What It Means for Your Health
Author: Daniel M. Davis
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
“Visceral.”—Wall Street Journal “Illuminating.”—Publishers Weekly “Heroic.”—Science The immune system holds the key to human health. In The Beautiful Cure, leading immunologist Daniel M. Davis describes how the scientific quest to understand how the immune system works—and how it is affected by stress, sleep, age, and our state of mind—is now unlocking a revolutionary new approach to medicine and well-being. The body’s ability to fight disease and heal itself is one of the great mysteries and marvels of nature. But in recent years, painstaking research has resulted in major advances in our grasp of this breathtakingly beautiful inner world: a vast and intricate network of specialist cells, regulatory proteins, and dedicated genes that are continually protecting our bodies. Far more powerful than any medicine ever invented, the immune system plays a crucial role in our daily lives. We have found ways to harness these natural defenses to create breakthrough drugs and so-called immunotherapies that help us fight cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and many age-related diseases, and we are starting to understand whether activities such as mindfulness might play a role in enhancing our physical resilience. Written by a researcher at the forefront of this adventure, The Beautiful Cure tells a dramatic story of scientific detective work and discovery, of puzzles solved and mysteries that linger, of lives sacrificed and saved. With expertise and eloquence, Davis introduces us to this revelatory new understanding of the human body and what it takes to be healthy.
The Human Genome Project is an expensive, ambitious, and controversial attempt to locate and map every one of the approximately 100,000 genes in the human body. If it works, and we are able, for instance, to identify markers for genetic diseases long before they develop, who will have the right to obtain such information? What will be the consequences for health care, health insurance, employability, and research priorities? And, more broadly, how will attitudes toward human differences be affected, morally and socially, by the setting of a genetic “standard”? The compatibility of individual rights and genetic fairness is challenged by the technological possibilities of the future, making it difficult to create an agenda for a “just genetics.” Beginning with an account of the utopian dreams and authoritarian tendencies of historical eugenics movements, this book’s nine essays probe the potential social uses and abuses of detailed genetic information. Lucid and wide-ranging, these contributions will interest bioethicists, legal scholars, and policy makers. Essays: “The Genome Project and the Meaning of Difference,” Timothy F. Murphy “Eugenics and the Human Genome Project: Is the Past Prologue?,” Daniel J. Kevles “Handle with Care: Race, Class, and Genetics,” Arthur L. Caplan “Public Choices and Private Choices: Legal Regulation of Genetic Testing,” Lori B. Andrews “Rules for Gene Banks: Protecting Privacy in the Genetics Age,” George J. Annas “Use of Genetic Information by Private Insurers,” Robert J. Pokorski “The Genome Project, Individual Differences, and Just Health Care,” Norman Daniels “Just Genetics: A Problem Agenda,” Leonard M. Fleck “Justice and the Limitations of Genetic Knowledge,” Marc A. Lappé This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press’s mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1994.