Kate Lawrence's Reviews > Survival of the Sickest: A Medical Maverick Discovers Why We Need Disease

Survival of the Sickest by Sharon Moalem
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's review
Mar 12, 2009

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bookshelves: science
Read in March, 2009

Fascinating explorations about how some genetic "flaws" that ultimately shorten human life have actually increased the likelihood of surviving at least to reproductive age. For example, people with hemochromatosis (too much iron retained in the blood) had a better chance of surviving the bubonic plague. Includes amazing stuff about the intricate sequence of events that enable some parasites to move from one host animal to another, and about one species of frog that routinely freezes solid in cold weather, reviving unharmed in warmer temps. The book increased my respect for the complexity of ecosystems, the interrelatedness of all creatures, and the mystery of how life forms survive.

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