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Darwin's Radio by Greg Bear
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Darwin's Radio

by Greg Bear

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Darwin Series (1)

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2,932731,961 (3.51)86
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» See also 86 mentions

English (69)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  All (73)
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
4* for this audiobook edition, 3½* for the book itself. It probably deserves better than that but the politics, while scarily believable, formed too much of the book for me without giving me the feeling of a complete picture. ( )
  leslie.98 | Jul 20, 2017 |
Kaye Lang crede că boli străvechi codificate în ADN-ul uman aşteaptă să se activeze pentru a infecta din nou. Teoria ei controversată pare să fie o realitate sumbră, întrucât un vânător de virusuri descoperă o boală stranie, similară gripei, care atacă femeile însărcinate şi pruncii lor. Descoperirea în Alpi a unei familii preistorice perfect conservate arată o legătură şocantă: ceva ce a dormit milioane de ani în genele noastre începe să se trezească.
  thebblack | Jun 23, 2017 |
In the novel, a new form of endogenous retrovirus has emerged, SHEVA. It controls human evolution by rapidly evolving the next generation while in the womb, leading to speciation.

The novel follows several characters as the "plague" is discovered as well as the panicked reaction of the public and the U.S. government to the disease.

Built into the human genome are non-coding sequences of DNA called introns. In Darwin's Radio, certain portions of these "non-sense" sequences, remnants of prehistoric retroviruses, have been activated (SHEVA) and are translating numerous LPCs (large protein complex). The activation of SHEVA and its consequential sudden speciation was postulated to be either controlled by a complex genetic network that perceives a need for modification or a human adaptive response to overcrowding. The disease, or rather, gene activation, is passed on laterally from male to female as per an STD. If impregnated, a woman in her first trimester who has contracted SHEVA will miscarry a deformed female fetus made of little more than two ovaries. This "first stage fetus" leaves behind a fertilized egg with fifty-two chromosomes rather than the typical forty-six characteristic of Homo sapiens sapiens.

During the third trimester of the second stage pregnancy, both parents go into a pre-speciation puberty to prepare them for the needs of their novel child. Facial pigmentation changes underneath the old skin which begins sloughing off like a mask. Vocal organs and olfactory glands alter and sensitize respectively, to adapt for a new form of communication. For over a year after the first SHEVA outbreak in the United States, no second stage fetus was recorded to have been born alive. The new human species was highly sensitive to all varieties of herpes and could not be viably born to a mother who had ever been infected with any of the virus' many forms, including Epstein-Barr and the chickenpox — thus eliminating 95% of the female population. Anesthetics and pitocin administered during childbirth were also lethal. So while many women would contract activated SHEVA, few would be able to successfully give birth, making the transition from Homo sapiens sapiens to the new human species very gradual.

The international response to the threat of SHEVA was to form a special task force that would work alongside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to find a vaccine. Because the "disease", called "Herod's Flu", was already in the genome of every person on Earth, the only two options were to either inhibit the activation of the SHEVA gene by discovering the signal it used or to abort the second stage fetus. Due to the rapid mutation rate of the missing-link signal molecule, preventing the activation of the gene was infeasible. The second option, abortion, was already a controversial issue and the proposal of handing out free RU 486 was met with social upheaval, adding to the already chaotic social scene. The general public believed that the government was either not placing due importance on the death of countless fetuses, or already had a cure and refused to release it. In response, government research facilities were forced to test prospective treatments prematurely and could not pursue explanations for SHEVA outside of the "disease" category because of the potential reactions from the masses. It was not until viable second stage fetuses were born that the idea of SHEVA being a part of evolution rather than a disease began to grow from a few isolated sources
  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
A fast-paced, page-turning sci-fi/medical thriller, with an acknowledged nod to Robin Cook's "Outbreak." However, the interesting (although improbable) scientific ideas in the book lift it above the run-of the-mill bestseller.
An unusual discovery is made - two Neandertal mummies, with a seemingly normal, Homo Sapiens infant. Is the child theirs?
Meanwhile, a new transmissible retrovirus is discovered - although it might seem to be nothing more than a cold, one of its side effects in pregnant women seems to be miscarriage. Mitch - an anthropological archaeologist with a dubious reputation, and Kaye, a rising star in the field of genetics, are brought together by an unexpected correlation between the ancient discovery and the modern virus. What seems to be a disease may not be that at all - but a major jump in the evolution of the species ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Great slow burner. Ended up going out and buying myself a copy of the hardcover because I enjoyed it so much, but despite having read this at the beginning of August I haven't yet gotten around to reading book 2. I think I got burned on Greg Bear when I decided to read something of his when I was either in middle school or high school, and just wasn't old enough to read it and actually understand it, so I've shied away from him ever since. I did the same thing with the Dragon series of Anne McCaffrey's, and when I finally got around to reading it I devoured the whole series. I think, now that I've come back to him, Greg Bear and I are likely to be good friends. ( )
  lyrrael | Oct 17, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Greg Bearprimary authorall editionscalculated
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Romero,Pedro JorgeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosvall, MattiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For My Mother, Wilma Merriman Bear 1915-1997
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The flat afternoon sky spread over the black and gray mountains like a stage backdrop, the color of a dog's pale crazy eye.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345435249, Mass Market Paperback)

All the best thrillers contain the solution to a mystery, and the mystery in this intellectually sparkling scientific thriller is more crucial and stranger than most. Why are people turning against their neighbors and their newborn children? And what is causing an epidemic of still births? A disgraced paleontologist and a genetic engineer both come across evidence of cover-ups in which the government is clearly up to no good. But no one knows what's really going on, and the government is covering up because that is what, in thrillers as in life, governments do. And what has any of this to do with the discovery of a Neanderthal family whose mummified faces show signs of a strange peeling?

Greg Bear has spent much of his recent career evoking awe in the deep reaches of space, but he made his name with Blood Music, a novel of nanotechnology that crackled with intelligence. His new book is a workout for the mind and a stunning read; human malignancy has its role in his thriller plot, but its real villain, as well as its last best hope, is the endless ingenious cruelty of the natural world and evolution. --Roz Kaveney, Amazon.co.uk

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:04 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

When a virus that has slept in our DNA for millions of years wakes up, will the human race survive?

» see all 3 descriptions

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