Winner of the Guardian First Book Award 2004
Armand Marie Leroi lectures in evolutionary developmental biology at Imperial College, London. The mutants in the book result from abnormal developmental processes and Leroi is well-placed to tell us about them. With mutations as the excuse, Leroi describes the processes of development in an accessible way, both what normally happens, and what can go wrong. By understanding why people can end up so differently, we understand something important about us all: the value of all that variability. You will get a fundamental understanding of developmental biology from embryo to old age. How does the embryo organise itself into all those different bits and pieces, at all the right times? How does your body know when it is time to get old? I was left impressed with the ability of these phenomenally complex processes to produce human beings mostly to plan so often. It is amazing, and well worth reading about.