Tag Archives: evolution

Book Review: A Discovery of Witches — Evolution and genetic mutations

***This blog has moved to a new location. Visit the new site for more posts and updates! (http://www.SomethingAboutScience.com)***

Let’s talk about mutations. You are more familiar with the concept than you think. Take for example, the popular movie series X-Men, where the world is surprisingly full of “mutants” with extraordinary abilities, such as Wolverine, Magneto, and Storm to name a few.

I wanted to talk about evolution and genetic changes because I came across a novel that discussed it. A Discovery of Witches (2011), a New York Times bestseller and book one of the All Souls Trilogy, by historian & novelist Dr. Deborah Harkness is a drooling 4-in-1 treat for someone like myself who equally love sci-fi, fantasy, romance, and historical work. Through seamless references to alchemy, Darwinian evolution, genomic studies, and history spanning over a thousand years, the story slowly unfolds mystery surrounding the world where humans unknowingly co-exist with daemons, witches, and vampires. (And yes, the leading vampire is irresistibly attractive AND he happens to be a biochemist like myself.)

Everything seemed fine until I came across the following set of phrases, which raised my eyebrow:

“Species change, adapting to new circumstances… The instinct to survive…is a powerful one – certainly powerful enough to cause genetic changes.” (p.472, Penguin Books)
“…she might have been led to you by the pressures of survival.” (p.473, Penguin Books) Continue reading –>

 

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Filed under Art in Science, Book Review, People in Science

From a mouse to an elephant — the rate of mammal expansion

***This blog has moved to a new location. Visit the new site for more posts and updates! (http://www.SomethingAboutScience.com)***

Last week I touched on the miniaturization of chameleons. This week, let’s discuss the speed of mammals evolving into different body sizes.

“How fast can a mammal evolve from the size of a mouse to the size of an elephant?” A research group in Australia addressed this question in their work that made the cover of this week’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sicences. The study investigated the pace of large-scale evolution in mammals over the last 70 million years. Continue reading –>

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Filed under Animals in Science, Pique of the Week