Tears of the Cheetah

Tears of the Cheetah

And Other Tales From the Genetic Frontier

Book - 2003 | 1st ed.
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The history of life on Earth is dominated by extinction events so numerous that over 99.9% of the species ever to have existed are gone forever. If animals could talk, we would ask them to recall their own ancestries, in particular the secrets as to how they avoided almost inevitable annihilation in the face of daily assaults by predators, climactic cataclysms, deadly infections and innate diseases.
In "Tears of the Cheetah," medical geneticist and conservationist Stephen J. O'Brien narrates fast-moving science adventure stories that explore the mysteries of survival among the earth's most endangered and beloved wildlife. Here we uncover the secret histories of exotic species such as Indonesian orangutans, humpback whales, and the imperiled cheetah-the world's fastest animal which nonetheless cannot escape its own genetic weaknesses.
Among these genetic detective stories we also discover how the Serengeti lions have lived with FIV (the feline version of HIV), where giant pandas really come from, how bold genetic action pulled the Florida panther from the edge of extinction, how the survivors of the medieval Black Death passed on a genetic gift to their descendents, and how mapping the genome of the domestic cat solved a murder case in Canada.
With each riveting account of animal resilience and adaptation, a remarkable parallel in human medicine is drawn, adding yet another rationale for species conservation-mining their genomes for cures to our own fatal diseases. "Tears of the Cheetah" offers a fascinating glimpse of the insight gained when geneticists venutre into the wild.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2003.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780312272869
0312272863
Branch Call Number: 591.35 O13
Characteristics: xiv, 287 p., [8] p. of plates ; 24 cm.

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Veepea Dec 29, 2014

This was a very interesting book, although it did make me rather upset how even today people tend to put money ahead of the well-being of life on our planet. The cover blurb says that the "stories are in a simple language that can be understood even by the nonexpert." I think that is qu... Read More »


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Veepea Dec 29, 2014

This was a very interesting book, although it did make me rather upset how even today people tend to put money ahead of the well-being of life on our planet. The cover blurb says that the "stories are in a simple language that can be understood even by the nonexpert." I think that is quite a stretch. I am a nonexpert, though I have been interested in science since I was young, and I had to reread some technical sections several times before I had a slight grasp on what he was talking about. So, I do recommend this book, but it will not be a breeze to read unless you are quite familiar with science and genomics. It would also be nice if he wrote a sequel or updated edition because this field has advanced a lot in the last decade.

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