Kinokuniya bookstore. (My YA-loving side was thoroughly disappointed that ‘The Reckoning’ wasn’t in stock.) This bookstore, which anyone who takes a trip to Dubai MUST visit, had a whole, huge shelf stuffed with books on genetics. A whole shelf! It set my mind spinning and I promptly grabbed a huge pile.
It was actually my Dad who picked up ‘Mutants’, by Armand Marie Leroi. In my jetlagged state it took me a few seconds to figure out what was wrong with the hand on the cover… but once I did, I got excited.
If any of you have even a vague interest in medicine or genetics, or just a niggling desire to know why things happen, this book is for you. It deals with numerous conditions associated with mutation in humans: osteogenesis imperfecta, albinism, Huntington’s, conjoined twins, dwarfism, and there’s even a chapter on ageing.
What makes Leroi’s coverage of these conditions even more interesting is the real life examples interspersed through the text, from court dwarves to the Elephant Man. The terminology is, at times, hard to keep track of—it’s hard to keep all the different genes straight in your head, let alone what they do—but if you’re not required to memorize them you can safely move past the lingo and enjoy the information.
In short: a fascinating, accessibly book that details the quirkier side of genetics.