This week's entry is inspired by the difficulties of the US postal service to deliver packages on time!
Let me back up... for my developmental biology course, we were assigned to read a book about the nature of development. This book does supposedly does an excellent job at capturing the wonder of embryonic development without sacrificing the science behind it. This text, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, by Sean B. Carroll is a great supplement to any textbook in a developmental class, resulting in a more well-rounded view of embryology.
Unfortunately, I ordered this book online, and the order has been delayed. Hopefully it will arrive soon, as we are having discussions in class in which I feel disadvantaged. However, not having the text in-hand is no reason to declare defeat! I thought it would be appropriate to write a blog entry examining the author of this book, so that when the book did arrive, I could read it with a little bit on context under my belt.
Dr. Carroll seems to be a man of many interests in Biology, while remaining rooted in fundamental "micro-scale" research. He is a professor of Molecular Biology, as well as Genetics at the University of Wisconsin, which is a refreshing fact considering that many non-environmental scientists often lack a novelistic literary sense (speaking generally of course).
Having written multiple texts for the classroom, Carroll seeks to truly integrate the ideas of evolution and development. At times it is easy to lose sight of the overall context when pouring over embryonic microscopy slides, or perhaps to forget about genetic regulation and expression when considering a common ancestor among humans and apes. Without the coupling of these fields (along with ecology, in my opinion) conclusions drawn from either field individually are rather stunted, and can have little implication. I can truly appreciate the value in a biological text that looks at the "big picture" while still harkening back to the smaller elements, such as transcription factors and intricate gene expression.
While I have not yet read any of his work, I am sure that I will very much enjoy Carroll's interpretation of developmental biology.
Here is a link to a web page about Dr. Carroll, detailing some of the more specific facets of his research, academic involvements, and literary contributions.