Full of fascinating and bizarre cases of genetic mutation and irregularity, `Mutants' is an amazing exploration of the human form in all its beautiful and unique guises.
Why are most of us born with one nose, two legs, ten fingers and twenty-four ribs - and some of us not? Why do most of us stop growing in our teens - while others just keep going? Why do some us have heads of red hair - and others no hair at all? The human genome, we are told, makes us what we are. But how?
Armand Marie Leroi takes us to the extremes of human mutation - from the grotesque to the beautiful, and often both at the same time - to explain how we become what we are. Through the tales of long-lived Croatian dwarves, ostrich-footed Wadoma tribesmen, sex-changing French convent girls, and many more wonders of human development, Leroi has written a brilliant narrative account of our genetic grammar and people whose bodies have revealed it.
`Armand Leroi combines meticulous historical research, brand-new genetic understanding and consummate skill with words to tell an absorbing tale.' Matt Ridley, author of `Genome' and `Nature Via Nurture'
`Erudite, gracefully crafted...Enriching his observations and insights with examples drawn from science, medicine, history, philosophy and the arts, Leroi lifts us to a profound sense of wonder.' Sunday Times
`Poetic, philosophical, profound, witty and challenging.' Guardian
`"Mutants" thrills and repels and informs us of the delicacy and wonder of growth and development. It is written with great grace.' Richard Fortey, author of `The Earth'
`Leroi writes beautifully, charging his case histories with drama and pathos.' Time Out
`Dr Leroi's book is genuinely instructive and enlightening, a brilliant admixture of curious historical anecdote and up-to-date science, written in excellent and often elegant prose.' Spectator
Armand Leroi was born in 1964 in New Zealand, and has lived all over the world. He has published widely in technical journals on evolutionary and developmental genetics, and is currently Reader in Evolutionary Developmental Biology at
Imperial College London.