Time, Love, Memory: A Great Biologist and His Quest for the Origins of Behavior

By Jonathan Weiner

"A attention-grabbing history--. Literate and authoritative--.Marvelously exciting." --The manhattan occasions ebook Review

Jonathan Weiner, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Beak of the Finch, brings his fantastic reporting talents to the tale of Seymour Benzer, the Brooklyn-born maverick scientist whose examine of genetics and experiments with fruit fly genes has helped revolutionize or wisdom of the connections among DNA and behaviour either animal and human.

How a lot of our destiny is determined sooner than we're born?  Which of our features is inscribed in our DNA? Weiner brings us into Benzer's Fly Rooms on the California Institute of know-how, the place Benzer, and his asssociates are within the strategy of discovering solutions, frequently wonderful ones, to those questions. half biography, half exciting medical detective tale, Time, Love, Memory forcefully demonstrates how Benzer's reviews are altering our international view--and even our lives.

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As one of many world’s first molecular biologists, Benzer proposal he may well do what not anyone else had performed: examine the particular atoms. yet after his ten years of challenging exertions mapping the gene rII, he didn't want to need to begin mapping genes back. He desired to get immediately to the joys and learn the habit of an animal whose genes had already been mapped. a growing number of frequently, Benzer stumbled on himself jogging out of Sperry’s lab in the midst of the evening, occasionally with a ebook in his hand, and losing by way of Lewis’s Fly Room to examine the coral fish and the child octopi. every time he dropped in, Lewis will be busy examining mutant flics during the microscope and including their mutations to the chromosome maps that his instructor Sturtevant had started in the course of the evening again in 1911. If Benzer used to be ever going to disentangle nature and nurture, it appeared self-evident to him that the article to do used to be to maintain the surroundings consistent and alter the genes. He knew that the maps on Lewis’s partitions have been nonetheless the main large genetic maps of any organism on the planet. If he labored with them, he will be creating a type of splice among the previous and the recent, simply as he had performed in his adventures with rII; and he might ask for aid from Sturtevant and Lewis, of the final Lords of the Flies. after all, his outdated mentor and Zen grasp Max Delbrück might cackle. yet Max himself had a asserting: “Don’t do trendy study. ” One evening Benzer stopped by way of Lewis’s laboratory and borrowed a milk bottle jam-packed with fruit flies. He additionally borrowed a few try tubes—he couldn’t discover a try out tube wherever in Sperry’s lab. He positioned a lightbulb on his benchtop, held attempt tubes mouth to mouth, grew to become out the overhead lighting fixtures, and watched a fly run towards the sunshine. bankruptcy SEVEN First selection The mind is so energetic and lively it insinuates itself into all locations and instances; reaches the heights, searches the depths, friends into all these recluded cupboards of nature in which she hath kept up the choicer and abstrussest items of all her workmanship, and those it contemplates and admires. —NATHANIEL WANLEY, The Wonders of the Little international, 1788 i assumed of a maze of mazes, of a sinuous, ever becoming maze which might take up either earlier and destiny and may one way or the other contain the celebs. —JORGE LUIS BORGES, “The backyard of Forking Paths” IN A LABORATORY seminar in 1966, Benzer advised Roger Sperry’s scholars how he had trapped a fly in a test-tube tunnel, with a mild on the finish of the tunnel. He advised them that almost all of the flies within the tunnel had moved towards the sunshine lots of the time—instinctively, the way in which a moth flies towards a candle flame. He advised them that with a chain of test-tube tunnels he could possibly separate the light-lovers from the dark-lovers, simply as a chemist operating with molecules can separate the water-lovers from the oil-lovers. This countercurrent computer will be just the start, Benzer acknowledged. it might be the prototype for a complete sequence of experiments within which he may search for mutant instincts and mutant habit simply the way in which Sturtevant and Ed Lewis searched for mutant wings and abdomens.

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