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Book recommendation on selective breeding?


I am looking for a good book that gives a nice overview of the science and technics of selective breeding. I am particularly interested in the use of population genetics to support decision in this applied field. So do you have any suggestions?


Below are some examples of question that I would hope that book answers.

  • If the artificial selection is too strong, it is very likely that some beneficial alleles will disappear. How strong do we decide artificial selection to be?

  • How do we deal with various lifetime?

  • How do we deal with species that can have only few babies so that we are obliged to limit the strength of selection to keep a stable population size?

  • How do we make sure to not reduce the immunologic genetic diversity within the population to zero but only to reduce the diversity of genes that influence the trait of interest?

  • Is it better to wait to be able to measure the quantity of milk in the sisters of a bull in order to infer about the quality of the bull or is it wiser to directly allow the bull to reproduce to speed things up?

  • How are the estimations of heritability performed?

  • How do we measure the impact of various environment of the trait of interest?

  • Which cultural traits should we allow to spread and which should we stop?

  • How can we use a correlated trait to infer more simply or more rapidly of the amplitude of the trait of interest?

  • How much outbreeding should we allow?

  • When is mutation breeding preferable?

and more globally some questions of the kind:

  • What are the different solution to artificially inseminate?

  • Can we select on the spermatozoids?

  • What financial elements should be taken into before creating a breeding plan?

  • GWA's studies in selective breeding

  • What is the relative importance of selective breeding and GMO in current economy and in our current ability to improve strains for our purposes?


I will Suggest:

Selective Breeding in Aquaculture: An Introduction

Authors: Trygve Gjedrem, Matthew Baranski

ISBN: 978-90-481-2772-6 (Print) 978-90-481-2773-3 (Online)

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What You Ought To Know About Selective Breeding

Selective breeding is also popular as artificial selection. It is the process of using plant breeding and animal breeding to selectively develop specific characteristics the selection of which typically plant or animal males and females reproduce sexually to bear offspring together. Domesticated animals are breeds that generally a professional breeder breeds. Domesticated plants, on the other hand, are cultigens, varieties, or cultivars. Two purebred animals of varied breeds give birth to a crossbreed, and crossbred plants are hybrids. It is possible for commercial or non-commercial specialists or amateurs to breed fruit-trees, vegetables, and flowers primary crops are generally the attribution of the experts.

With respect to animal breeding, methods such as linebreeding, inbreeding, and outcrossing are common. In plant breeding, alike methods are made use of. The measured exploitation of artificial selection to lead to the desired results has become quite common in experimental and agricultural biology. It is possible for selecting breeding to be non-deliberate. It can result from the process of cultivation of humans and it may also lead to desirable or undesirable unintended outcome. For instance, in certain grains, certain practices of ploughing instead of the international choice of larger seeds can lead to an increase in the size of the seed.

Plant breeding has been in use for a number of years and started with the wild plants domesticating into predictable and uniform agricultural cultigens. In agriculture, high-yielding varieties have been specifically crucial. In addition, selecting plant breeding has been used in research to lead to transgenic animals that can breed true for artificially deleted or inserted genes. Animals with uniform behavior, appearance, and additional characteristics are specific breeds. They are bred by means of culling animals having specific traits and choosing for further breeding the ones having other traits. Purebred animals possess a recognizable or single breed and purebreds having recorded lineage are pedigreed. Two purebreds lead to crossbreeds and a mix of various breeds leads to mixed breeds.

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Book recommendation on selective breeding? - Biology

It is important to note that natural selection is not the only way that species evolve. In particular, humans can have quite drastic impacts on species’ characteristics, especially in organisms with agricultural or economic benefit.

Artificial selection (also known as selective breeding) is the process by which humans use animal breeding and plant breeding to selectively develop particular phenotypic traits (characteristics) by choosing which typically animal or plant males and females will sexually reproduce and have offspring together. Domesticated animals are known as breeds, normally bred by a professional breeder, while domesticated plants are known as varieties, cultigens, or cultivars. Two purebred animals of different breeds produce a crossbreed, and crossbred plants are called hybrids. Flowers, vegetables and fruit-trees may be bred by amateurs and commercial or non-commercial professionals: major crops are usually the provenance of the professionals.

There are two approaches or types of artificial selection. First is the traditional “breeder’s approach” in which the breeder or experimenter applies “a known amount of selection to a single phenotypic trait” by examining the chosen trait and choosing to breed only those that exhibit higher or “extreme values” of that trait. The second is called “controlled natural selection,” which is essentially natural selection in a controlled environment. In this, the breeder does not choose which individuals being tested “survive or reproduce,” as he or she could in the traditional approach. There are also “selection experiments,” which is a third approach and these are conducted in order to determine the “strength of natural selection in the wild.” However, this is more often an observational approach as opposed to an experimental approach.

Figure 1. A Belgian Blue cow. The defect in the breed’s myostatin gene is maintained through linebreeding and is responsible for its accelerated lean muscle growth.

In animal breeding, techniques such as inbreeding, linebreeding, and outcrossing are utilized. In plant breeding, similar methods are used. Charles Darwin discussed how artificial selection had been successful in producing change over time in his 1859 book, On the Origin of Species. Its first chapter discusses artificial selection and domestication of such animals as pigeons, cats, cattle, and dogs. Darwin used artificial selection as a springboard to introduce and support the theory of natural selection.

The deliberate exploitation of artificial selection to produce desired results has become very common in agriculture and experimental biology.


Unnatural Selection

Unnatural Selection is a stunningly illustrated book about selective breeding&thinsp—&thinspthe ongoing transformation of animals at the hand of man. More important, it’s a book about selective breeding on a far, far grander scale—a scale that encompasses all life on Earth. We’d call it evolution.

A unique fusion of art, science, and history, this book celebrates the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s monumental work The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, and is intended as a tribute to what Darwin might have achieved had he possessed that elusive missing piece to the evolutionary puzzle—the knowledge of how individual traits are passed from one generation to the next. With the benefit of a century and a half of hindsight, Katrina van Grouw explains evolution by building on the analogy that Darwin himself used—comparing the selective breeding process with natural selection in the wild, and, like Darwin, featuring a multitude of fascinating examples.

This is more than just a book about pets and livestock, however. The revelation of Unnatural Selection is that identical traits can occur in all animals, wild and domesticated, and both are governed by the same evolutionary principles. As van Grouw shows, animals are plastic things, constantly changing. In wild animals the changes are usually too slow to see—species appear to stay the same. When it comes to domesticated animals, however, change happens fast, making them the perfect model of evolution in action.

Suitable for the lay reader and student, as well as the more seasoned biologist, and featuring more than four hundred breathtaking illustrations of living animals, skeletons, and historical specimens, Unnatural Selection will be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in natural history and the history of evolutionary thinking.


5.7: Artificial Selection

It is important to note that natural selection is not the only way that species evolve. In particular, humans can have quite drastic impacts on species&rsquo characteristics, especially in organisms with agricultural or economic benefit.

Artificial selection (also known as selective breeding) is the process by which humans use animal breeding and plant breeding to selectively develop particular phenotypic traits (characteristics) by choosing which typically animal or plant males and females will sexually reproduce and have offspring together. Domesticated animals are known as breeds, normally bred by a professional breeder, while domesticated plants are known as varieties, cultigens, or cultivars. Two purebred animals of different breeds produce a crossbreed, and crossbred plants are called hybrids. Flowers, vegetables and fruit-trees may be bred by amateurs and commercial or non-commercial professionals: major crops are usually the provenance of the professionals.

There are two approaches or types of artificial selection. First is the traditional &ldquobreeder&rsquos approach&rdquo in which the breeder or experimenter applies &ldquoa known amount of selection to a single phenotypic trait&rdquo by examining the chosen trait and choosing to breed only those that exhibit higher or &ldquoextreme values&rdquo of that trait. The second is called &ldquocontrolled natural selection,&rdquo which is essentially natural selection in a controlled environment. In this, the breeder does not choose which individuals being tested &ldquosurvive or reproduce,&rdquo as he or she could in the traditional approach. There are also &ldquoselection experiments,&rdquo which is a third approach and these are conducted in order to determine the &ldquostrength of natural selection in the wild.&rdquo However, this is more often an observational approach as opposed to an experimental approach.

Figure 1. A Belgian Blue cow. The defect in the breed&rsquos myostatin gene is maintained through linebreeding and is responsible for its accelerated lean muscle growth.

In animal breeding, techniques such as inbreeding, linebreeding, and outcrossing are utilized. In plant breeding, similar methods are used. Charles Darwin discussed how artificial selection had been successful in producing change over time in his 1859 book, On the Origin of Species. Its first chapter discusses artificial selection and domestication of such animals as pigeons, cats, cattle, and dogs. Darwin used artificial selection as a springboard to introduce and support the theory of natural selection.

The deliberate exploitation of artificial selection to produce desired results has become very common in agriculture and experimental biology.


Strategies for Enhancement in Food Production

(b) Outbreeding which may be done by outcrossing ,cross breeding or interspecific hydridization.

B. Artificial methods. They include super ovulation and embryo transplantation, and multiple ovulation embryo transfer technology (MOET).

Out of these methods, cross breeding is the best method of animal breeding because it is breeding between the superior males of one breed are mated with superior females of another breed. It allows the desirable qualities of two different breeds to be combined and produces high yielding breeds.

The objectives of animal breeding are :

(a) Increasing the yield of animals and the quantity of animal products.

(b) Improving the quality of the produce.

(c) To combine good qualities of two different breeds by cross breeding and produce a better breed.

1It increases food production and caters to the increasing food demand.

2. It provides various animal products like milk, eggs, meat, wool, silk, honey etc used by the humans.

3. On the commercial aspect, it also fetches a lot of money from export of the animal products.

4. Demand for aquatic foods especially fish and fish products has also been met by animal husbandry practice.

(a) The main product of bee keeping is honey which is a highly nutritious . It replaces the use of sugar in many industries.

(b) Honey is used as a part of many indigenous drugss as it has medicinal properties.

(c) Another product called beeswax is also produced which is used in cosmetic and polish industry.

(d) Honey bees are chief pollinating agents so help in improving the plant yield.

1. Animals with high yielding potential and those who are resistant to diseases must be selected.

2. Proper housing of the cattle should be ensured.

3. Hygienic conditions should be maintained in the dairy farm.

4. Adequate water supply to cattle should be maintained.

5. Good quality as well as quantity of food for cattle must be provided.

6. Milking, storage and transport of milk must be done efficiently.

7. Record keeping of the farm and regular inspection should be done.

8.Regular visits by health experts and veterinary doctor to the farm must be ensured.


Evolutionary and reproductive biologists, and ecologists, and andrologists, in biology departments and medical schools.

Sperm Biology: An Evolutionary Perspective
1. Three Centuries of Sperm Research
2. The Evolutionary Origin and Maintenance of Sperm: Selection for a Small, Motile Gamete Mating Type
3. Sperm Morphological Diversity
4. The Evolution of Spermatogenesis
5. Sperm Motility and Energetics
6. Sperm Competition and Sperm Phenotype
7. Ejaculate-Female and Sperm-Female Interactions
8. The Evolutionary Significance of Variation in Sperm-Egg Interactions
9. Sperm and Speciation
10. Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics of Sperm
11. Sperm Proteomics and Genomics
12. Drive and Sperm: The Evolution and Genetics of Male Meiotic Drive
13. Unusual Gametic and Genetic Systems
14. Sperm and Conservation
15. Sperm, Human Fertility and Society


Book Excerpt From How to Be Animal

Melanie Challenger
Apr 1, 2021

Man with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men but to the humblest living creature, with his god-like intellect which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the solar system – with all these exalted powers – Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.
—Charles Darwin

T he world is now dominated by an animal that doesn’t think it’s an animal. And the future is being imagined by an animal that doesn’t want to be an animal. This matters. From the first flakes chipped from stone in the hands of walking apes at least several million years ago, history has arrived at a hairless primate with technologies that can alter the molecules of life.

These days, humans are agents of evolution with far greater powers than sexual selection or selective breeding. Thanks to breakthroughs in genomics and gene-editing technologies, the biology of animals, including humans, can be rewritten in various ways. We have created rodents with humanised livers or brains partly composed of human cells. We’ve made salmon that grow to our timetable. Scientists can sculpt DNA to drive lethal mutations throughout a whole population of wild animals.

Meanwhile, the rest of the living world is in crisis. In our oceans, our forests, our deserts and our plains, many other species are declining at unprecedented rates. In geological terms, we’re an Ice Age, a huge metamorphic force. Our cities and industries have left their imprint in the soil, in the cells of deep-sea creatures, in the distant particles of the atmosphere. The trouble is we don’t know the right way to behave towards life. This uncertainty exists in part because we can’t decide how other life forms matter or even if they do.

All that humans have tended to agree on is that we are somehow exceptional. Humans have lived for centuries as if we’re not animals. There’s something extra about us that has unique value, whether it’s rationality or consciousness. For religious societies, humans aren’t animals but creatures with a soul. Supporters of secular creeds like humanism make much of their liberation from superstition. Yet the majority rely on species membership as if it is a magical boundary.

This move has always been beset by problems. But, as time has passed, it has become harder to justify. Most of us act according to intuitions or principles that human needs outrank those of any other living thing. But when we try to isolate something in the human animal and turn it into a person or a moral agent or a soul, we create difficulties for ourselves. We can end up with the mistaken belief that there is something non-biological about us that is ultimately good or important. And that has taken us to a point where some of us seek to live forever or enhance our minds or become machines.

None of this is to say that there aren’t clear differences between us and everything else. Our conscious encounter with the world is a breathtaking fact of how life can evolve. We chat together about abstract concepts and chip images of ourselves out of rock. Like the beauty that a murmuration of starlings possesses, our experience seems to be more than the sum of our parts. From childhood onwards, we have a sense of identity, a kaleidoscope of memories. The sorts of skills and knowledge we bring into play in living and reproducing include the ability to fantasise and deceive, control certain urges and imagine the future. Through a blend of senses, emotions, hidden impulses and intimate narrative, we dream and we anticipate.

The human mind is an amazing natural phenomenon. Yet our kind of intelligence – having a subjective consciousness, among other things–does more than just enrich our experience of life. It provides far greater flexibility in our behaviour than might be possible without it, most especially with each other. Little wonder then that we have spent much of history asserting that human experience has a meaning and value that is lacking in the rigid lives of other animals. Surely there is something about us that can’t be reduced to simple animal stuff? Some might say that stripped of culture we become more obviously akin to the other creatures on Earth, relying on wits and body to get the energy to remain alive. Many works of art have aimed to teach that lesson, needling the imagination with the image of a human at the mercy of the forces of the natural world. But even so, we recognise that this individual has a potential for awareness that is unique in what we know–so far–of life in the universe. Here we have it. The exhilarating oddness of being something so obviously related to everything around us, and yet so convincingly different.

From HOW TO BE ANIMAL by Melanie Challenger, published by Penguin Books, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2021 by Melanie Challenger.


Selective Breeding in Aquaculture: an Introduction: 10 (Reviews: Methods and Technologies in Fish Biology and Fisheries) Hardcover – Import, 27 August 2009

This book provides a basic introduction to selective breeding in aquatic species, and describes the concepts behind establishing and running successful breeding programs. Although only 10% of world aquaculture production is currently based on genetically improved stocks, the dramatic gains achieved in species such as Atlantic salmon and tilapia serve to demonstrate the potential of selective breeding to improve growth, product quality, disease resistance and other commercially important traits. As increasing pressure is placed on feed, land and water resources, there is a growing need for such programs to be implemented on a large scale in aquaculture.

The major objective of this book is to introduce selective breeding to a wider audience, using results of numerous studies to show that the high fecundity and genetic variation in most aquatic species can lead to rapid and dramatic improvements. Building on well-established methods based on quantitative genetic theory, the key role that molecular genetics will play in the future of aquaculture breeding is also discussed.

The text was written by Trygve Gjedrem (chapters on breeding theory and planning breeding programs) and Matthew Baranski (biotechnology chapter and general contributions), scientists at one of the world’s leading food and aquaculture research institutes, Nofima Marin.

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Book recommendation on selective breeding? - Biology

Thousands of books have been written on the history of Western science. The list below gives details and brief descriptions of a hundred or so that are especially good introductions to the field (or parts of it). The list is, by design, selective and idiosyncratic. The books on it were chosen because they combine solid scholarship, broad coverage, and an accessible style. Most include extensive bibliographies of more specialized books and articles. Virtually all are in print as of this writing [Fall 1998], and should be readily available through large bookstores and their on-line equivalents.

The list does not include articles, primary sources, or books that deal only in part with historical issues. Nor, for the moment, does it include works on the histories of mathematics, technology, and medicine. It makes no attempt to include non-Western scientific traditions. These limits are designed both to keep the list to a manageable size and to keep it within the bounds of its compilers' expertise. Like all arbitrary limits, they are subject to change.

Information on publishers, publication dates, and in-print status were accurate as of this writing and will be updated periodically if necessary. The abbreviations "U" (for university) and "UP" (for university press) are used throughout.

Thanks to all who contributed suggestions and commented on various drafts of the list, especially: Stephen Brush, Rich Kremer, David Wilson, Herbert Folsom, Susan Abrams, and Mark Solovey. Special thanks to Constance Malpas, who encouraged the project at its outset, and to Melissa Oliver, who made possible its transition to the web. Suggested additions, deletions, corrections, or other changes are welcomed at: [email protected]

    [encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc.] [multi-period or multi-disciplinary histories] [science in the ancient and medieval West, to c. 1500 AD] [the "Scientific Revolution" era, c. 1500-1700]
  1. Physical Sciences since 1700 [histories of physics, chemistry, astronomy] [histories of biology, geology, ecology] [histories of psychology, anthropology, etc.] [science and institutions, laws, and governments] [science and literature, religion, philosophy, and art] [representative biographies of individual scientists]

Alic, Margaret. Hypatia's Heritage: A History of Women in Science from Antiquity Through the Nineteenth Century. Beacon Press, 1986. A collection of relatively brief biographies, indispensable for its scope and completeness. Shows, in considerable detail, that there's more to the subject than Marie Curie and Rachel Carson.

Asimov, Isaac. Asimov's Biographical Dictionary of Science and Technology, second revised edition. Doubleday, 1982. Brief biographical sketches of more than 1000 individuals--mostly male physical scientists from the last two centuries. Entries provide little social or intellectual context, and minimal cross-referencing, but basic data is reliable.

Bynum, W. F., E, J. Browne, and Roy Porter. Dictionary of the History of Science. Princeton UP, 1984. Seven hundred articles dealing with the history of specific scientific ideas and concepts. Extensive cross-referencing, indexing, and bibliographies make this a useful supplement to individual- and event-oriented works.

Gillispie, Charles Coulston, ed. Dictionary of Scientific Biography. 16 volumes. Scribners, 1970-80. Easily the most complete history-of-science reference source available. Multi-page entries on major scientists are frequently the best work available on their subjects, and can serve as useful introductions to major periods and subjects.

Olby, R. C., et al. Companion to the History of Modern Science. Routledge, 1990. Not a reference book in the conventional sense, but a collection of sixty-seven authoritative essays on the methods and contents of the history of science. The essays are grouped into six broad sections: Neighboring Disciplines, Analytical Perspectives, Philosophical Problems, Turning Points, Topics and Interpretations, and Themes.

Alioto, Anthony. A History of Western Science, 2nd ed. Prentice-Hall, 1992. Broad, sweeping overview that emphasizes science as a way of knowing rather than as a body of knowledge. Emphasizes ancient, medieval, early modern topics.

Asimov, Isaac. Asimov's Chronology of Science and Discovery, updated edition. Harper Collins, 1994. Scientific and technological breakthroughs from antiquity to the present, narrated in Asimov's characteristic (learned, breezy, accessible) style. Treats discoveries in social and cultural context.

Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 2nd ed. U. of Chicago Press, 1970. Landmark theoretical study of how scientific communities function and how new scientific ideas become accepted. Among the most influential history-of-science studies ever written.

Marks, John M. Science and the Making of the Modern World. Heinemann, 1984. Focuses, as its title suggests, on the social dimensions of science, mostly after 1650. Designed as an undergraduate textbook, offering broad introductions to many science-and-society topics treated in greater depth by others.

Mason, Stephen F. A History of the Sciences. MacMillan, 1962. [older editions titled: Main Currents of Scientific Thought] Nuts-and-bolts history of science emphasizing theories, data, and experiments at the expense of social context. Concise text and broad coverage compensates for dry writing style and sometimes dated interpretation.

Toulmin, Stephen, and June Goodfield. The Architecture of Matter. U of Chicago Press, 1982 [1961]. History of ideas about the nature of matter, animate and inanimate, from the ancient Greeks to the 20th century. Selective, rather than comprehensive, with an emphasis on recurring themes.

Toulmin, Stephen, and June Goodfield. The Fabric of the Heavens. U of Chicago Press, 1982 [1962]. Survey of astronomy, physics, and their relationship from the Babylonians (c. 1700 BC) to Isaac Newton (c. 1700 AD).

Crombie, A. C. The History of Science from Augustine to Galileo. Dover, 1996. One of the definitive works on the history of medieval science, originally published in 1952. Strong focus on scientific ideas, with comparatively less attention to social context than (say) Lindberg.

Grant, Edward. Physical Science in the Middle Ages. Cambridge UP, 1978. Covers the origins of medieval science and its institutions [treated in more depth in Grant (1996)] and basic medieval ideas about the motion of celestial and terrestrial bodies.

Grant, Edward. The Foundations of Modern Science in the Middle Ages: Their Religious, Institutional, and Intellectual Contexts. Cambridge UP, 1996. Traces the rediscovery, translation, and transformation of ancient Greek science by medieval scholars, and the intersection of Aristotelian and Christian thought.

Lindberg, David. The Beginnings of Western Science. U. of Chicago Press, 1992. The best, most comprehensive introduction to the history of science in the ancient and medieval West. Aimed at undergraduates and non-specialists, with careful explanations of ideas and the social contexts in which they evolved.

Lloyd, G. E. R. Early Greek Science: Thales to Aristotle and Greek Science After Aristotle. Norton, 1974 & 1975. Compact, wide-ranging surveys of ancient Greek scientific ideas from their origins in the 6th century BC to their absorption by the Romans.

Neugebauer, Otto. The Exact Sciences in Antiquity, 2nd ed. Dover, 1969. Originally published in 1957, and still among the best surveys of ancient mathematics, physics, and astronomy.

Cohen, I. Bernard. The Birth of a New Physics, revised edition. Norton, 1985. The origins of classical physics in the work of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Leibniz, and Newton. Aimed at undergraduates and general readers uses math sparingly.

Crowe, Michael. Theories of the World from Antiquity to the Copernican Revolution. Dover, 1990. Leads the reader through the internal logic of Aristotelian, Ptolemaic, Copernican, and other cosmologies. History of astronomy seen from the inside, for those comfortable with high-school level math geometry and algebra.

Dobbs, B. J. T., and Margaret Jacob. Newton and the Culture of Newtonianism. Humanities Press, 1995. Brief survey of Newton's ideas and their cultural impact in the 18th century, by two leading authorities on the period.

Hall, A. Rupert. The Revolution in Science, 1500-1750, 3rd ed. Addison-Wesley, 1983. Comprehensive, densely written history of the origins of modern science, originally published in the 1950s. Focuses on ideas more than social institutions, and physical more than biological sciences.

Hankins, Thomas L. Science in the Enlightenment. Cambridge UP, 1985. Comprehensive, balanced survey of scientific ideas, organized roughly by discipline.

Merchant, Carolyn. The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution. Harper, 1990. Provocative re-examination of the Scientific Revolution, arguing that the rise of a mechanical worldview sanctioned the exploitation of nature and the subordination of women.

Schiebinger, Londa. The Mind Has No Sex?: Women in the Origins of Modern Science. Harvard UP, 1989. Examines both the role of women in 17th and 18th century science and scientific attitudes toward women that emerged during the same period.

Shapin, Steven. The Scientific Revolution. U. of Chicago Press, 1998. Iconoclastic view of the Scientific Revolution (particularly its social dimension) which questions its existence. Divided into three sections: "What Was Known?" "How Was It Known?" and "What Was the Knowledge For?"

Brock, William H. The Norton History of Chemistry. Norton, 1993. Chemistry gets the Norton treatment--comprehensive, balanced, and detailed enough to be useful without becoming overwhelming. The best single volume on the subject for non-specialists.

Cassidy, David. Einstein and Our World. Humanities Press, 1995. Brief, non-technical survey of Einstein's ideas, scientific and otherwise, and their impact on the first half of the 20th century. A compact case study of the intersection of science and culture.

Cline, Barbara Lovett. Men Who Made a New Physics: Physicists and Quantum Theory. U. of Chicago Press, 1987. Biography-oriented history of one of the revolutions in 20th-century physics, written for non-specialists without a background in quantum theory.

Crowe, Michael J. Modern Theories of the Universe from Herschel to Hubble. Dover, 1994. Scientific, historical, and philosophical introduction to modern astronomy and cosmology, in the vein of Crowe's Theories of the World (see previous section). Like the earlier work, assumes a high-school level grasp of mathematics.

Harman, P. M. Energy, Force, and Matter: The Conceptual Development of Nineteenth Century Physics. Cambridge UP, 1982. Currently out of print, but worth seeking out for its brief but comprehensive review of a particularly innovative period in the history of physics.

Knight, David. Ideas in Chemistry. Rutgers UP, 1992. Big-picture history of chemistry from its origins in medieval alchemy through its glory days in the 18th and early 19th century to its reduced, 20th century status as a "service science." Covers key people, ideas, and experiments, but not a comprehensive "names and dates" compendium.

North, John D. The Norton History of Astronomy and Cosmology. Norton, 1995. The most complete, up-to-date, one-volume introduction to the history of astronomy and cosmology. Includes, as many earlier works do not, material on astronomy in ancient, non-Western societies and on space-based astronomy.

Nye, Mary Jo. Before Big Science: The Pursuit of Modern Chemistry and Physics, 1800-1940. Twayne, 1996. History, written for students and non-specialists, of the parallel development of modern chemistry and physics. Discusses changes in disciplinary boundaries, career structures, and institutions, as well as ideas.

Allen, Garland. Life Sciences in the Twentieth Century AND William Coleman, Biology in the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge UP, 1978 & 1977. Compact, wide-ranging surveys of biological thought at both the macro- and microscopic levels. Densely packed, but non-technical. Out of print, but still widely available in libraries.

Bowler, Peter J. Evolution: The History of an Idea, 2nd ed. U. of California Press, 1989. Textbook-style survey of evolutionary theory, with side excursions into the history of geology and paleontology. Usefully summarizes Bowler's extensive contributions to the field.

Bowler, Peter J. The Norton History of the Environmental Sciences. Norton, 1993. Despite its title, primarily a history of ideas about the history of the Earth and of its living inhabitants, with some attention to ecology, meteorology, and oceanography. Probably the best single-volume treatment of its chosen subjects.

Gohau, Gabriel. A History of Geology. Rutgers UP, 1990. The best all-around history of geology for non-specialists. Written by an Italian, it avoids the heavy Anglo-American bias of many older histories.

Judson, Horace Freeland. The Eighth Day of Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Biology, expanded edition. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1996. Long and detailed, but non-technical, history of 20th century molecular biology.

Kohn, David, ed. The Darwinian Heritage. Princeton UP, 1985. The vast literature on Darwin and Darwinism embraces a great variety of subjects and approaches. This thick collection of articles provides a representative cross-section. Its table of contents could serve as an impromptu "Who's Who" of the "Darwin Industry."

Magner, Lois. A History of the Life Sciences, 2nd edition. Marcel Dekker, 1994. Comprehensive history of the biological sciences from the ancient world to the present day. Divided chronologically for the period through the Renaissance, thematically thereafter.

Schiebinger, Londa. Nature's Body: Gender in the Making of Modern Science. Beacon Press, 1995. Traces the role of 17th and 18th-century science, particularly Linnaean taxonomy, in establishing the European male as the paradigm of all humankind.

Serafini, Anthony. The Epic History of Biology. Plenum Press, 1993. Sweeping, popular history of Western biology and medicine from the ancient Near East to the present. Old-fashioned emphasis on the role of "revolutionary" thinkers challenging "prejudices and dogmas" of their times in order to advance knowledge.

Thrower, Norman J. W. Maps and Civilization. U. of Chicago Press, 1996. Traces the development of cartography and the social and political uses to which it was put, touching on non-Western as well as Western maps and societies.

Worster, Donald. Nature's Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas. Cambridge UP, 1994. The most recent edition of the classic history of ecological ideas and their cultural impact, by a leading figure in the study of environmental history.

Degler, Carl N. In Search of Human Nature. Oxford UP, 1992. A survey of the history of the social sciences in (mostly) 20th century America, using the decline and revival of Darwinism as a central organizing theme.

Gordon, Scott. The History and Philosophy of Social Science. Routledge, 1991. Intellectual history of social scientists' attempts to develop comprehensive explanations of human behavior. Chronologically organized, with additional chapters on topics of long-term interest to social scientists, such as the relationship between the social and the biological in shaping human culture.

Gould, Stephen Jay. The Mismeasure of Man. Norton, 1982. Historical and passionate critique of what Gould sees as the misuse of biology to explain and justify existing social inequalities. Case studies include intelligence testing, brain-size comparisons between races, and the vanished 19th century science of "criminal anthropology."

Herman, Ellen. The Romance of American Psychology: Political Culture in the Age of Experts. U. of California Press, 1995. The history of psychology's intersection with American politics and society in the 20th century. Topics covered include gender, race, and the politics of the Cold War.

Leahey, Thomas Hardy. A History of Psychology: Main Currents in Thought, 4th edition. Prentice-Hall, 1997. Standard, textbook-style history of psychology. Emphasizes ideas rather than social or cultural context, both internal and external to the discipline.

Lewin, Roger. Bones of Contention, 2nd edition. U. of Chicago Press, 1997. Episodes in the history of 20th century paleoanthropology, chosen to illustrate the contentious nature of the field. Highly readable, with anecdotes and character sketches leavening the explanations of competing theories.

Porter, Theodore M. The Rise of Statistical Thinking, 1820-1900. Princeton UP, 1985. Though not limited to the social sciences, this work examines the rise of a most powerful and versatile intellectual tool.

Ross, Dorothy. Origins of American Social Science. Cambridge UP, 1991. Surveys the history of the social sciences in their American cultural context, arguing for the central role of an ideology of American exceptionalism in shaping them.

Smith, Roger. The Norton History of the Human Sciences. Norton, 1997. One-stop shopping for readers interested in a broad overview of how the major social sciences emerged. Like all the Norton histories of the sciences, its stated goal is to make recent scholarship available in a compact, readable form.

Stiebing, William. Uncovering the Past: A History of Archaeology. Oxford UP, 1994. Half a history of archaeology, half an introduction to the current "state of the art." Less comprehensive and scholarly than Bruce Trigger's A History of Archaeological Thought (Cambridge UP, 1989), but more accessible to non-archaeologists.

Stocking, George W. Race, Culture, and Evolution. [1968] U. of Chicago Press, 1982. AND The Ethnographer's Magic. U. of Wisconsin Press, 1992. Collections of essays on the history of anthropology that make up in depth of insight what they lack in breadth and easy accessibility. Challenging, but worth it.

Ben-David, Joseph. The Scientist's Role in Society. U. of Chicago Press, 1984. Brief, pioneering study of the historical sociology of science, which uses case studies from various Western societies to show how scientists' now-central role in society emerged. Out-of-print, but worth seeking out.

Dupree, A. Hunter. Science in the Federal Government: A History of Policies and Activities. [1957] Johns Hopkins UP, 1986. Still the standard source for the period up to World War II comprehensive and detailed without sacrificing readability. For the post-WWII period, see Greenberg (1967).

Gould, Stephen J. The Mismeasure of Man. See "Social Sciences," above.

Greenberg, Daniel S. The Politics of Pure Science: An Inquiry into the Relationship between Science and Government in the United States. New American Library, 1967. Thirty years old and thus somewhat dated, but remains a solid introduction to the interdependency of science and the US government in the mid-20th century.

Jacob, Margaret. Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial West. Oxford UP, 1996. Surveys the interrelations of science, industry, and society in France and, particularly, in Britain. Begins with the cultural and scientific legacies of Newton and Descartes and ends in the early stages of industrialization.

Josephson, Paul R. Totalitarian Science and Technology. Humanities Press, 1996. Most introductory studies of modern science and technology in their cultural context focus on democratic or proto-democratic societies. This brief volume provides another view, by focusing on Germany under the Nazis and the USSR under Stalin.

Kevles, Daniel J. In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity. U. of California Press, 1985. History of Anglo-American attempts to improve the human race through selective breeding, from the late 19th to the mid-20th century. Sober, scrupulously detailed, and often frightening.

Larson, Edward J. Sumer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion. Basic Books, 1997. Detailed narrative and analysis of perhaps the single most famous collision of science and American culture: the Scopes "Monkey Trial" of 1925. Illuminates the roots and continuing relevance of the trial, while debunking the simplistic "Ignorance vs. Truth" interpretation enshrined by the play and film Inherit the Wind.

Larson, Edward J. Trial and Error: The American Controversy Over Creation and Evolution, updated edition. Oxford UP, 1989. A history of anti-evolution and pro-creationist legislation in the United States, and the court battles that resulted. Elegantly written and incisively argued by a lawyer-historian.

Paul, Diane B. Controlling Human Heredity. Humanities Press, 1995. The history of late-19th and early-20th-century attempts to create a better human race by applying scientists' emerging knowledge of genetics. Briefly links its main story to present-day concerns, but useful primarily as a brief synopsis of material covered at length by Gould (1981) and Kevles (1985).

Pyenson, Lewis, and Susan Sheets-Pyenson. The Norton History of Science in Society. Norton, 1997. Comprehensive survey, from antiquity to the present, of the rise of scientific institutions and the interaction of science and Western culture. Discusses the rise of learned societies, museums, and other specialized scientific institutions, as well as the shaping of science by social concerns.

Rhodes, Richard. The Making of the Atomic Bomb. [1987] Touchstone, 1995. Massive, prize-winning history of the design, building, testing, and aftermath of the first atomic bombs. An unmatched treatment of the biggest of all Big Science projects, coupled with a substantial history of pre-WWII nuclear physics and detailed portraits of Niels Bohr and J. Robert Oppenheimer, among others.

Brooke, John Hedley. Science and Religion: Some Historical Perspectives. Cambridge UP, 1991. A comprehensive narrative/analysis of the changing relationship between scientific and religious ideas, set in the context of recent history-of-science scholarship. Dense, detailed, and demanding, but written with acute insight and brilliant clarity of expression.

Burnham, John C. How Superstition Won and Science Lost: Popularizing Science and Health in the United States. Rutgers UP, 1987. Now out of print, but worth seeking out for its thoughtful--if somewhat depressing--analysis of the intersection of scientific and popular understandings of the world.

Haynes, Roslynn D. From Faust to Strangelove: Representations of the Scientist in Western Literature. Johns Hopkins UP, 1994. Surveys literary depictions of scientists from the Middle Ages to today, and traces the emergence of such stock characters as the Alchemist, the Scientist-Hero, and the Clueless Genius.

Landau, Misia. Narratives of Human Evolution. Yale UP, 1991. A unique perspective on narratives of human evolution from Darwin to the present, arguing that they mirror the structure of hero-on-a-quest folktales. An elegant argument for literature's impact on science.

Levine, George. Darwin and the Novelists: Patterns of Science in Victorian Fiction. U. of Chicago Press, 1991 [reprint]. A pioneering study of science's influence on major literary figures, and an introduction to the rapidly growing science-and-literature field. Gillian Beer's Darwin's Plots (1984) is also excellent, but now out of print.

Lindberg, David C., and Ronald L. Numbers. God and Nature: Historical Perspectives on the Encounter Between Science and Christianity. U. of California Press, 1986. A collection of essays by an all-star team of historians of science that collectively revise the old "warfare" model of science's relationship to religion. Many of the individual essays remain the best treatments of their subjects.

Nelkin, Dorothy, and M. Susan Lindee. The DNA Mystique: The Gene as a Cultural Icon. W. H. Freeman, 1995. Surveys the nature and impact of popular ideas about scientific issues connected with genetics, including DNA fingerprinting, the Human Genome Project, and genetic testing.

Nelkin, Dorothy. Selling Science: How the Press Covers Science and Technology, revised edition. W. H. Freeman, 1995. Wide-ranging critique of the often-symbiotic relationship between scientists and the press. Treats journalists' depictions of scientists and the scientific process, as well as their handling of specific theories.

Rydell, Robert. All the World's A Fair AND World of Fairs. Chicago: U. of Chicago Press, 1987 & 1993. Analyzes the American World's Fairs of, respectively, 1876-1916 and 1919-1939 as artfully constructed displays of American attitudes toward science, technology, race, gender, and cultural progress.

Tuomey, Christopher. Conjuring Science: Scientific Symbols and Cultural Meanings in American Life. Rutgers UP, 1996. Analyzes the impact on public policy of most Americans' willingness to grant science great cultural authority while remaining vaguely aware, at best, of science's methods and results.

Abir-Am, Pnina G., and Dorinda Outram. Uneasy Careers and Intimate Lives: Women in the Sciences, 1789-1979. Rutgers UP, 1987. Pioneering collection of chapter-length biographical studies of women scientists, some familiar, most not.

Brennan, Richard. Heisenberg Probably Slept Here. John Wiley, 1996. Chapter-length biographies of seven major 20th-century physicists, treating their ideas as well as their careers. Covers, in addition to the title character, Einstein, Feynmann, Planck, and others.

Brian, Dennis. Albert Einstein: A Life. John Wiley, 1996. Written by an outsider after the recent, full(er) disclosure of Einstein's personal papers. Elementary explanations of his science punctuate a survey of his public and personal lives. Balanced on controversial issues.

Christianson, Gale E. Edwin Hubble: Mariner of the Nebulae. U. of Chicago Press, 1996. The first full-scale biography of a man whose work transformed 20th century astronomy by establishing solid evidence for the expansion of the universe. Also deals squarely with Hubble's less-than-attractive personality.

Desmond, Adrian, and James R. Moore. Darwin. Warner Books, 1991. A comprehensive, readable one-volume biography placing Darwin's scientific work firmly in its Victorian social and cultural context. Janet Browne's Charles Darwin: Voyaging (1996), the first of a projected two-volume work, is also excellent.

Geison, Gerald L. The Private Science of Louis Pasteur. Princeton UP, 1995. Detailed study of Pasteur's life and work, rooted in the author's careful analysis of his laboratory notebooks. Careful and even-handed in placing Pasteur's ideas and methods in the context of his times, but topples a number of cherished Pasteur myths.

Hoffman, Banesh, and Helen Dukas. Albert Einstein: Creator and Rebel. New American Library, 1989. Short, fond biography of Einstein by two colleagues, with dense-but-comprehensible explanations of his science interspersed with rose-colored stories of his personal life.

Keller, Evelyn Fox. A Feeling for the Organism. Award-winning biography of pioneer geneticist Barbara McClintock, whose studies of corn--unconventional by the standards of the time--eventually won her the Nobel Prize.

Pycior, Helena M., et. al., eds. Creative Couples in the Sciences. Rutgers UP, 1996. Twenty-four studies of collaborative work by scientists who were married to each other. Explores the ways in which gender roles, marital dynamics, and social expectations shaped these collaborations.

Sime, Ruth Lewin. Lise Meitner: A Life in Physics. U. of California Press, 1997. Extensively detailed effort to rescue the co-discoverer of nuclear fission from the historical oblivion to which politics, sexism, and less-than-generous colleagues consigned her. Covers both Meitner's physics and her human-centered personal life.

Smith, Crosbie, and M. Norton Wise. Energy and Empire: A Biographical Study of Lord Kelvin. Cambridge UP, 1989. Definitive biography of one of the most influential figures in nineteenth century physics, covering his contributions to thermodynamics and other fields in considerable technical depth.

Westfall, Richard S. The Life of Isaac Newton. New York: Cambridge UP, 1994. A compact distillation of the author's definitive Newton biography Never at Rest. Covers Newton's relationship with colleagues as well as his ideas, and assumes some basic knowledge of the Scientific Revolution.

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