Since scientists began experimenting with green fluorescent proteins in the middle of the 1990s, these proteins have become one of the most important tools available to researchers in modern medicine and biology. By using them to illuminate other proteins that were previously invisible even under microscope, scientists are now able to observe facets of disease that would have otherwise gone undetected. Green fluorescent proteins are a part of over three million experiments a year, and are invaluable for tasks such as tracking HIV, breeding bird flu-resistant chickens, and confirming the existence of cancerous stem cells.
In Illuminating Disease, Marc Zimmer introduces us to these revolutionary proteins, acquainting readers both with the researchers responsible for the proteins' discovery as well as their wide utility. The book details the history of genetically modified fluorescent parasites and viruses, which provide scientists with new information about the spread of diseases. Green fluorescent proteins have played crucial roles in the research of malaria, AIDS/HIV, swine and bird flu, dengue, cancer, and chagas. They allow scientists and doctors to understand these diseases better, by quite literally illuminating various microscopic pieces that otherwise would have gone unseen.
The book is richly illustrated, showing the many visually striking uses of GFP. Many of these scans have won awards in biological imaging competitions. Illuminating Disease is an accessible and illustrated introduction to one of the most important developments in medical research of the last several decades.
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