An age old mystery, the development of the microscopic embryo into exceedingly complex plants and animals--into roses and cacti, elephants and blue whales, apes and human beings--stands as one of the most fundamental and important questions facing modern biologists. How does one cell give rise to so many millions of cells? How do they divide so as to form hearts, brains, eyes, and ears? Where in this pin-head-sized object is all this information encoded? Now, in The Triumph of the Embryo, biologist Lewis Wolpert answers these and other questions in a lucid tour of embryology, which offers the latest theories in this fascinating field.
Filled with rich and unusual examples, metaphors, and descriptions, Wolpert moves beyond his overall narrative to discuss the many issues it raises, such as aging, cancer, regeneration, and evolution. Readers discover why all calico cats are female; encounter a fruit fly engineered to grow a leg out of its head; and find out why there seems to be a 110 year age barrier for the human body. Clearly written and illustrated with striking examples, The Triumph of the Embryo offers a dazzling look at the marvels of modern biology. [via]