Of Flies, Mice, and Men
François Jacob, Nobel laureate, scientist, historian, and one of the pioneers in genetic research presents the dangers and potentials of natural science in microbiology. His book is illustrated by historical culture. For example, a fly is generally considered boring and useless. But because it proliferates so fast, 30 years ago it made a career in laboratories worldwide as an object to experiment with life itself. Drosophila gave birth to fundamental knowledge of modern genetics: The difference between the various living beings is not in the genes but in different combination of the same basic building blocks. We know that in the meantime, thanks to e.g.: Matt Ridley's Genome, but what makes "Flies, Mice, and Men" outstanding is that you'll find intersting parables about scorpions, frogs and snakes, Zeus and women, odipus, the paradoxical clairvoyant Teiresias, tabus, transgression, and conflicts in marriage. This book is one of the rare hardtoputdowners.
In "Flies, Mice, and Men" I've read about gastrulation for the first time, but it was not explained in detail and rated mysterious. You'll find more about gastrula in Rudolf Steiner's The Riddles of Philosophy, quote:
- "In all animals except the Protista, which are one-celled organisms, a cup- or jug-shaped body, the gastrula, develops from the zygote with which the organism begins its ontogenesis. This gastrula is an animal form that is to be found in the first stages of development of all animals from the sponges to man. It consists merely of skin, mouth and stomach. There is a low class of zoophytes that possess only these organs during their lives and therefore resemble gastrulae." ...
Read more about "Flies, Mice, and Men" in the IBS review of the book's German translation.