Study Guide

The Gene - "The Mystery of Mysteries" (Part One) Summary & Analysis

Siddhartha Mukherjee
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Summary

In 1831, a young Charles Darwin boarded the HMS Beagle. Darwin found the contemporary and religious-based static view of nature to be troubling and reasoned that "a natural historian should be able to describe the state of the natural world in terms of causes and effects" (30). While Mendel asks how an organism transmits information to its offspring over one generation, Darwin asked how they transmute information over a thousand generations.

Aboard the Beagle, Darwin spent many years collecting specimens and fossils and noting his observations. His discovery of extinct mammoth animals that were strikingly similar to their smaller living descendants, as well as his observations about diverse species on the isolated Galapagos Islands would become particularly significant. Studying bird specimens collected from different Galapagos islands, Darwin noted: "Each variety is constant in its own Island" (33). Analyzing the collected fossils and...

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This section contains 944 words
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Buy The Gene Study Guide
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