Summary & Study Guide – The Body by Lee Tang

A guide for Occupants

The must-read summary of “The Body: A Guide for Occupants,” by Bill Bryson.

Summary & study guide – the body

An Owner’s Manual for Everyone.
The must-read summary of “The Body: A Guide for Occupants,” by Bill Bryson. 

Did you ever think you needed an owner's manual for our complex body? Our body is the product of three billion years of evolutionary tweaks. In The Body, Bill Bryson took a boring science book and turned it into an understandable book for everyone. The book guides us through the human body—how it functions, how it heals itself, and how it can fail. It leads you to a deeper understanding of the miracle that is life in general and you in particular.

Read this book to better understand one of the enduring mysteries of human biology.

This guide includes:

Value-added from this guide:

Genre: STUDY AIDS / Study Guides

Secondary Genre: SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Human Anatomy & Physiology

Language: English

Keywords: Heart disease, cancer, infectious disease, food, sleep, hormones, reproduction

Word Count: 24,800

Sample text:

Long ago, a high school biology teacher told us that we could buy all the chemicals that make up a human body for about $5.00. Was it true? 

Many authorities have tried to compute how much it would cost in materials to build a human. At the 2013 Cambridge Science Festival, Britain’s Royal Society of Chemistry determined that we needed 59 elements to construct a human being. Six of these—carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus—account for 99.1 percent of what makes us. The cost of material for building a new human being was $151,578.46 plus taxes.

But no matter what you pay, you will not create a human being from inert components. These elements are just building blocks and are not themselves alive. We need a miracle of life.
The basic unit of life is a cell which is full of stuff like ribosomes, proteins, DNA, RNA, mitochondria. None of those are themselves alive. Yet somehow when these things are put together, you have life.

Our body is a universe of 37.2 trillion cells operating in concert. The heart of the cell is the nucleus. It contains the cell’s DNA. DNA molecules are packaged into thread-like structures called chromosomes. Genes are segments of DNA that contain the code for a specific protein. You need proteins to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. The complete set of genes present in a cell is called the genome.

Only 2 percent of the human genome codes for proteins. The noncoding portion of the genome plays a role in regulating gene expression. 

Humans share 99.9 percent of their DNA, and yet no two humans are alike. You have about a hundred personal mutations that don’t match the genes given to you by your parents.

Book translation status:

The book is available for translation into any language except those listed below:

Already translated. Translated by Saleem Rustom
Translation in progress. Translated by André Weber
Already translated. Translated by Salvador Sánchez

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