N.luchnik why i'm like dad

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N.LUCHNIK

Why I'm Like Dad

Mir Publishers
MOSCOW

ABOUT THE B O O K Why do cats give birth to kittens, lions to lion-cubs, and rabbits to baby rabbits? Why do human children, too, not only outwardly look like their parents, but also resemble them in character and disposition? Why are twins as like as two peas or quite different? Why are some babies born monsters? Can man remake animalsand plants to order? Questions like those are the field of this book. It describes the quests that led to major discoveries in genetics, and the obstacles encountered by researches, and tells about the scientists who study heredity, and how to change it. The author, a prominent biologist himself, takes the reader to research laboratories, farm fields, and hospitals, opening up before him the wholebroad field of modern genetics. Why I'm Like Dad received the award of the USSR Society for the Dissemination of Scientific Knowledge (Znaniye) for the best popular science writing in 1967.

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Luchnik

Why I'm Like Dad
Translated from by Yuri Shirokov the Russian

Translation by C.H.

Edited

Creighton

Mir Publishers

Moscow

First published 1971 Second edition 1978

© E n g l i s h translation, Mir Publishers, 1978 II a nmMiiii'KO \t n.v,n:e

Contents

PROLOGUE

7
7

The Professor v the Canon

POSTHUMOUS FAME

13

The Great Mystery 13 Vesicles and Cells 15 The Academy Sponsors a Contest 19 Academies and Science 24 Johann Becomes Gregor 27 Lawsof Nature 31 The Game of Dice 35 A Mad Hypothesis 39 The Abbot of St. Thomas' Monastery 44 Sixteen Years On 48

FLIES AND ELEPHANTS

52
55

Like in a Film 52 The Dance of the Chromosomes The Halving Process 57 Hypothesis Becomes Theory 59 The Vinegar Fly (52 The Map of Heredity GC. Show Me a Gene 70 How Does It Happen? 77

THE LAWS OF VARIETY

81

The Story of a Suicide 81 AnEngineer Challenges a Scienl ist 87 New B u t Long Forgotten 91 Geneticists Get to Work 9i The Fate of a White Crow 101 The Great Synthesis 105 A New Lease of Life 111 Creators of Abundance ttfi

GENES UNDER FIRE

118

A Fortress Surrenders 118 Insidious Rays 125 Atomic Firing Range 127 The Birth of a Science 133 A Riddle Answered 138 From Iodine to Yperite 142 Revival of Cell 148 Danger Retreats153 For the Good of Man 159 M O L E C U L E S THAT R E P R O D U C E An Unexpected Toast 165 Leo Tolstoy and the 'Things' Azimov's Law 174 Form and Substance 179 Self-replicating Molecules? 181 Suspicion Falls on Nucleic Acid Evidence Piles Up 190 CINDERELLA BECOMES A THEMSELVES 170

186

PRINCESS 198 198 210

Molecules Duplicate Themselves Checking the Hypothesis 204 The Theoreticians TakeOver Man-made Nucleic Acids 216 Nirenberg's Triumph 222 THE A B C O F HEREDITY 226

After the Ball 226 A Sensation 232 I Look For a Pattern 235 Further Difficulties 237 The Three Roads 241 W H Y I'M LIKE DAD, AFTER ALL? Three Effective Principles 250 Knight's Move 2 5 3 Wiser Than Solomon 259 Genes and Man 2 6 2 250

Prologue

The

Professor

v the

Canon

Professor Carl von Naegeliof Munich University was famous as a stickler for precision and punctuality. And was proud of it. That may be why, as professor of botany, he had chosen hawkweeds (Hieracium) as the subject of his research, plants with crowns of yellow flowers resembling dandelions or sow-thistle. For work w i t h them requires the utmost accuracy. The professor was exact in everything and always answered letterspunctually. B u t one letter he had not answered for nearly two months, and that bothered h i m . But w h a t to say in reply? The letter had not come from a scientist, that was obvious from the subscription: 'I remain, Your Excellency's respectful and humble servant, Gregor Mendel, Canon of the Monastery and teacher a t the Realschule.' B u t the date was 31 December 1866, and here it was...
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