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Life Science and the Rise of Biotech Enterprise
The biotech arena emerged in the 1970s and 1980s, when molecular biology, one of the fastest-moving areas of basic science in the twentieth century, met the business world. Gene Jockeys is a detailed study of the biotech projects that led to five of the first ten recombinant DNA drugs to be approved for medical use in the United States: human insulin, human growth hormone, alpha interferon, erythropoietin, and tissue plasminogen activator. Drawing on corporate documents obtained from patent litigation, as well as interviews with the ambitious biologists who called themselves gene jockeys, historian Nicolas Rasmussen chronicles the remarkable, and often secretive, work of venture capitalists, stock market investors, and scientist-entrepreneurs who built a new domain between academia and the drug industry in the pursuit of intellectual rewards and big payouts. In contrast to some who critique the rise of biotechnology, Rasmussen contends that biotech was not a swindle, even if the public did pay a very high price for the development of what began as public scientific resources. Within the biotech enterprise, the work of corporate scientists went well beyond what biologists had already accomplished within universities, and it accelerated the medical use of the new drugs by several years. In his technically detailed but approachable narrative, Rasmussen focuses on the visible and often heavy hands that construct and maintain the markets in public goods like science. He looks closely at how science follows money, and vice versa, as researchers respond to the pressures and potential rewards of commercially viable innovations. In biotechnology, many of those who engaged in crafting markets for genetically engineered drugs were biologists themselves who were in fact trying to do science. This book captures that heady, fleeting moment when a biologist could expect to do great science through the private sector and be rewarded with both wealth and scientific acclaim.
Drawn from the Genetics, Disability and Deafness Conference at Gallaudet University in 2003, this trenchant volume brings together 13 essays from science, history, and the humanities, history and the present, to show the many ways that disability, deafness, and the new genetics interact and what that interaction means for society. Pulitzer-prize-winning author Louis Menand begins this volume by expressing the position shared by most authors in this wide-ranging forum—the belief in the value of human diversity and skepticism of actions that could eliminate it through modification of the human genome. Nora Groce creates an interpretive framework for discussing the relationship between culture and disability. From the historical perspective, Brian H. Greenwald comments upon the real “toll” taken by A. G. Bell’s insistence upon oralism, and Joseph J. Murray recounts the 19th century debate over whether deaf-deaf marriages should be encouraged. John S. Schuchman’s chilling account of deafness and eugenics in the Nazi era adds wrenching reinforcement to the impetus to include disabled people in genetics debates. Mark Willis illustrates the complexity of genetic alterations through his reaction to his own genetic makeup, in that he is happy to combat his heart disease with genetic tools but refuses to participate in studies about his blindness, which he considers a rich variation in human experience. Anna Middleton describes widely reported examples of couples attempting to use genetic knowledge and technology both to select for and against a gene that causes deafness. Chapters by Orit Dagan, Karen B. Avraham, Kathleen S. Arnos, and Arti Pandya elucidate the promise of current research to clarify the complexity and choices presented by breakthroughs in genetic engineering. In his essay on the epidemiology of inherited deafness, geneticist Walter E. Nance emphasizes the importance of science in offering individuals knowledge from which they can fashion their own decisions. Christopher Krentz reviews past and contemporary fictional accounts of human alteration that raise moral questions about the ever-continuing search for human perfection. Michael Bérubé concludes this extraordinary collection with his forceful argument that disability should be considered democratically in this era of new genetics to ensure the full participation of disabled people themselves in all decisions that might affect them.
The Secret World of America's Most Valuable Plant
American Ginseng has a strange and perilous history. It has one of the longest germination periods of any known species, and only two environments in the world have offered the ideal growing conditions for wild ginseng. The first was the forests of northern China, which disappeared over a millennium ago, and the sole remaining habitat is the Appalachian Mountain region of eastern North America, an area now threatened by logging and mining. Chinese legend says that ginseng is the child of lightning. The two elemental forces of water and fire fight in an eternal struggle, pouring down rain and snow and blasting the earth with lightning. If that lightning happens to strike a spring of water, the water disappears and in its place grows a ginseng plant—the fusion of yin and yang, water and fire, darkness and light, and the life force that moves the universe. American ginseng has become perhaps the most treasured of all herbal medicines, promising good health and longevity to those who consume it. Fortunes have been made and lost on the plant, which was America’s first export to China—before our nation even existed. The strange, twisted, man-shaped root today commands as much as two thousand dollars a pound in the hot, noisy ginseng markets of Hong Kong, and a wealthy collector might pay as much as $10,000 for a single, perfect specimen. Ginseng Dreams: The Secret World of America’s Most Valuable Plant unfolds ginseng’s past and its future through the stories of seven people whose lives have become inextricably bound to it: a huckster, a field researcher, a farmer, a ginseng “missionary,” a criminal investigator, a broker, and a cancer researcher. Each of these individuals brings a different perspective to the elusive root—and each is consumed by a different dream. Kristin Johannsen threads her way though remote woodlands in the Appalachians to observe the fragile plants slowly putting out leaves as part of a three-year growing cycle, during which time the ginseng is vulnerable to both poachers and growing suburban sprawl. She contrasts this with the huge commercial growing fields of Marathon County, Wisconsin, where among potato fields and paper mills, ninety percent of the country’s ginseng is produced. Johannsen explores the brisk black market trade in the panacean root and the efforts to save the wild species and its native habitat, and she ends her story in the laboratory, where researchers are investigating ginseng’s anti-cancer properties. An absorbing journey into the many worlds of this mysterious and potent plant, Ginseng Dreams tells the extraordinary story of America’s little-known natural treasure and the spell it casts on those who seek it.
Bromus to Paspalum, Second Edition
Since the publication of the first edition of Grasses: Bromus to Paspalum in 1972, twenty-two additional taxa of grasses have been discovered in Illinois that are properly placed in this volume. In addition, numerous nomenclatural changes have occurred for plants previously discovered, and many distributional records have been added. New keys have been prepared for each genus where additional species from Illinois are known. For new species, full-page illustrations are provided. This second edition updates the status of Illinois grasses. The book features 263 figures from the first edition plus 21 new figures for this edition by Paul W. Nelson.
Genera of grasses included in this work are Aegilops, Agropyron, Agrostis, Aira, Alopecurus, Anthoxanthum, Avena, Beckmannia, Briza, Bromus, Calamagrostis, Cinna, Dactylis, Deschampsia, Elyhordeum, Elymus, Elytrigia, Festuca, Hierochloe, Holcus, Hordeum, Koeleria, Lolium, Milium, Paspalum, Pennisetum, Phalaris, Phleum, Poa, Puccinellia, Sclerochloa, Secale, Sphenopholis, Torreyochloa, Triticum, and Vulpia.
Panicum to Danthonia
Since the publication of the first edition of Grasses: Panicum to Danthonia in 1973, twenty additional taxa of grasses have been discovered in Illinois that are properly placed in this volume. In addition, numerous nomenclatural changes have occurred for plants already known from the state, and many distributional records have been added. This second edition updates the status of grasses in Illinois. Paul W. Nelson has provided illustrations for all of the additions.
Because the nature of grass structures is generally so different from that of other flowering plants, a special terminology is applied to them. In his introduction, Robert H. Mohlenbrock cites these terms, with descriptions that make the identification of unknown specimens possible. Mohlenbrock’s division of the grass family into subfamilies and tribes is a major departure from the sequence usually found in most floristic works in North America.
Synonyms that have been applied to species in the northeastern United States are given under each species. A description based primarily on Illinois material covers the more important features of the species. The common names—Paflic Grass, Billion Dollar Grass or Japanese Millett, Thread Love Grass, and Goose Grass—are the ones used locally in the state. The habitat designation and dot maps showing county distribution of each grass are provided only for grasses in Illinois, but the overall range for each species is also given.
Mammalian pheromones, audiomones, visuomones, and snarks—Richard Doty argues that they all belong in the same category: objects of imagination. For more than 50 years, researchers—including many prominent scientists—have identified pheromones as the triggers for a wide range of mammalian behaviors and endocrine responses. In this provocative book, renowned olfaction expert Richard L. Doty rejects this idea and states bluntly that, in contrast to insects, mammals do not have pheromones. Doty systematically debunks the claims and conclusions of studies that purport to reveal the existence of mammalian pheromones. He demonstrates that there is no generally accepted scientific definition of what constitutes a mammalian pheromone and that attempts to divide stimuli and complex behaviors into pheromonal and nonpheromonal categories have primarily failed. Doty's controversial assertion belies a continued fascination with the pheromone concept, numerous claims of its chemical isolation, and what he sees as the wasted expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars by industry and government. The Great Pheromone Myth directly challenges ideas about the role chemicals play in mammalian behavior and reproductive processes. It is a must-have reference for biologists, psychologists, neuroscientists, and readers interested in animal behavior, ecology, and evolution.
Ecology and Conservation of a Landscape Species and Its Habitats
Admired for its elaborate breeding displays and treasured as a game bird, the Greater Sage-Grouse is a charismatic symbol of the broad open spaces in western North America. Unfortunately these birds have declined across much of their range—which stretches across 11 western states and reaches into Canada—mostly due to loss of critical sagebrush habitat. Today the Greater Sage-Grouse is at the center of a complex conservation challenge. This multifaceted volume, an important foundation for developing conservation strategies and actions, provides a comprehensive synthesis of scientific information on the biology and ecology of the Greater Sage-Grouse. Bringing together the experience of thirty-eight researchers, it describes the bird’s population trends, its sagebrush habitat, and potential limitations to conservation, including the effects of rangeland fire, climate change, invasive plants, disease, and land uses such as energy development, grazing, and agriculture.
How Plants Keep the Earth Alive
Beginning with an overview of how human civilization has altered the face of the Earth, particularly by the destruction of forests, the book details the startling consequences of these actions. Rice provides compelling reasons for government officials, economic leaders, and the public to support efforts to save threatened and endangered plants.