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The creation of Dolly the sheep in the 1990s was for many people the start of a new era: the age of genetically modified animals. However, the idea was not new for in the 1920s an amateur scientist, Hans Duncker, decided to genetically engineer a red canary. Though his experiments failed, they paved the way for others to succeed when it was recognised that the canary needed to be both a product of nature and nurture. This highly original narrative, of huge contemporary relevance, reveals how the obsession with turning the wild canary from green to red heralded the exciting but controversial developments in genetic manipulation.
"First published in Great Britain by Weidenfeld & Nicholson in 2003"--T.p. verso.
Winner of the Consul Cremer Prize, The Red Canary follows the compelling quest to turn the green canary red. The creation of Dolly the sheep in the 1990s was for many people the start of a new era: the age of genetically modified animals. However, the idea was not new, for in the 1920s an amateur scientist, Hans Duncker, decided to genetically engineer a red canary. Favored originally for their voice, by the middle of the nineteenth century canaries had become so popular that millions were exported from Europe to the United States to satisfy demand. During the 1870s, English canary breeders caused a scandal by feeding their birds red peppers to turn them orange. In the 1930s, Duncker's genetics efforts caught the attention of the Nazi regime who saw him as a champion of their eugenic policies, even though his ingenious experiments were not successful. Nonetheless, Duncker's work paved the way thirty years later for an Englishman, Anthony Gill, and an American, Charles Bennett, to succeed, after recognizing that the red canary would need to be a product of both nature and nurture. In Tim Birkhead's masterful hands, this highly original narrative reveals how the obsession of bird keepers turned the wild canary from green to red, and in the process, heralded exciting but controversial developments in genetic manipulation.
What is it like to be a swift, flying at over one hundred kilometres an hour? Or a kiwi, plodding flightlessly among the humid undergrowth in the pitch dark of a New Zealand night? And what is going on inside the head of a nightingale as it sings, and how does its brain improvise? Bird Sense addresses questions like these and many more, by describing the senses of birds that enable them to interpret their environment and to interact with each other. Our affinity for birds is often said to be the result of shared senses - vision and hearing - but how exactly do their senses compare with our own? And what about a birds' sense of taste, or smell, or touch or the ability to detect the earth's magnetic field? Or the extraordinary ability of desert birds to detect rain hundreds of kilometres away - how do they do it? Bird Sense is based on a conviction that we have consistently underestimated what goes on in a bird's head. Our understanding of bird behaviour is simultaneously informed and constrained by the way we watch and study them. By drawing attention to the way these frameworks both facilitate and inhibit discovery, it identifies ways we can escape from them to seek new horizons in bird behaviour. There has never been a popular book about the senses of birds. No one has previously looked at how birds interpret the world or the way the behaviour of birds is shaped by their senses. A lifetime spent studying birds has provided Tim Birkhead with a wealth of observation and an understanding of birds and their behaviour that is firmly grounded in science.
Long before Dolly the Sheep or bioengineered corn, there was the Red Canary-the first organism to be manipulated by genetic technology, back in the 1920s. The effort to produce a red canary invoked all of the deep issues that troubled genetic engineering decades later: the nature of genes and how they work, the specter of eugenics, and the relative roles of nature and nurture in determining what an organism is. Behavioral ecologist Tim Birkhead describes how a sweet-voiced green bird discovered by Spanish explorers in the 1300s became a craze in Renaissance Europe, how breeders gradually turned its green plumage to yellow, and how a pair of German scientists used the first bit of gene technology in the 1920s to produce an almost-red canary. But the true red canary would not come until the 1960s, when British scientists successfully bred one, and genes alone would not be sufficient to create one. A Brand New Bird is a compelling tale of a fascinating episode in the history of genetics.
Did you know that: More than 80% of the foods you eat in restaurants and buy at supermarkets contain genetically engineered ingredients, and that these ingredients have been linked to toxic and allergic reactions in people; sickness, sterility, and fatalities in livestock; and damage to virtually every organ studied in lab animals?If you don't count French fries, ketchup or pizza as vegetables, more than half of Americans eat no vegetables at all?Cows raised for meat are impacting our climate more than cars?It’s possible to be a positive food revolutionary without sounding like a self-righteous nag? Join John and Ocean Robbins for 21 intimate, game-changing conversations with some of the world’s leading “food revolutionaries”: scientists, doctors, teachers, farmers, economists, activists, and nutritionists working on food issues today. Introduced and with commentary by John Robbins and his son Ocean, the book features luminaries such as: Dean Ornish, MD, on his years-in-the-making breakthrough with Medicare (his program for healing heart disease is now covered)Kathy Freston on making incremental, manageable changes to how we eatT. Colin Campbell, PhD, (author of the famed China Study) with the latest research on animal protein and human healthJoel Fuhrman, MD (author of the bestselling Eat to Live), on achieving excellent health through dietCaldwell Esselstyn, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic on wiping out heart disease by changing what we eatVandana Shiva, PhD, on GMOs and Big AgRory Freedman on how to stop eating misery and start looking fabulousRaj Patel on building a saner global food policy Each contributor discusses his or her work in depth, but together they make one rallying cry: for a healthy, sustainable, humane, and delicious revolution in how we and the world are fed. Over twenty-five years ago John Robbins started a revolution. This book is proof of how far we’ve come, a fascinating look behind the scenes of the multi-faceted food movement, and a call to join in the work of ensuring our health and food future.

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