Unnatural Selection: How We are Changing Life, Gene by Gene

Author(s): Emily Monosson

Popular Science

In a narrative style, Emily Monosson explains how humans are driving rapid contemporary evolution through the use of toxic chemicals and what we can do about it. Gonorrhoea. Bed bugs. Weeds. Salamanders. Polar Bears. People. All are evolving, some surprisingly rapidly, in response to our chemical age. In Unnatural Selection, Emily Monosson shows how our drugs, pesticides, and pollution are exerting intense selection pressure on all manner of species. And we humans might not like the result. Monosson reveals that the very code of life is more fluid than once imagined. When our powerful chemicals put the pressure on to evolve or die, beneficial traits can sweep rapidly through a population. Species with explosive population growth, the insects, bacteria and weeds, tend to thrive, while bigger, slower-to-reproduce creatures, like ourselves, are more likely to succumb. Unnatural Selection is eye-opening and more than a little disquieting. But it also suggests how we might lesson our impact: manage pests without creating super bugs; protect individuals from disease without inviting epidemics; and benefit from technology without threatening the health of our children.

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"Prepare for the unexpected! Evolution has consequences and when we rapidly drive the process, through our profligate use of antibiotics and toxic chemicals, we should be prepared for unexpected outcomes. Monosson succinctly shows us how and why our inability to control diseases and pests and grow sufficient food to eat is an inevitable product of our anthropogenic toxification of the Earth. Eye opening and timely."--Daniel T. Blumstein "Professor & Chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA "

Emily Monosson is an independent biochemical toxicologist, writer, consultant, and college instructor. She is an adjunct Professor at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and teaches as a visiting faculty at Mount Holyoke College. She is the author of Evolution in a Toxic World and editor of Motherhood, the Elephant in the Laboratory (Cornell, 2008).

General Fields

  • : 9781610914987
  • : Island Press
  • : Island Press
  • : January 2015
  • : 231mm X 157mm X 25mm
  • : United States
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Emily Monosson
  • : Hardback
  • : 576.5
  • : 232