Bainbridge, David 1968-

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BAINBRIDGE, David 1968-


Born October 13, 1968; married; children: yes.


Office—St. Catharine's College, Trumpington St., Cambridge CB2 1RL, England.


St. Catharine's College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England, clinical anatomist and fellow; has also been a lecturer in comparative anatomy and physiology at the Royal Veterinary College, London, England.


A Visitor Within: The Science of Pregnancy, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 2001, published as Making Babies: The Science of Pregnancy, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

The X in Sex: How the X Chromosome Controls Our Lives, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2003.


An anatomist and fellow at St. Catharine's College, Cambridge, David Bainbridge has explored the biology of reproduction and gender in two books: A Visitor Within: The Science of Pregnancy and The X in Sex: How the X Chromosome Controls Our Lives. Both books are written for general readers with no background in biology and answer intriguing questions on a subject that people often take for granted. In the former work, published in the United States as Making Babies: The Science of Pregnancy, Bainbridge explains such questions as why a mother's immune system does not attack her fetus, how a fetus alters a mother's menstrual cycle, and why people reproduce the way they do in the first place. Bainbridge includes comparisons with the reproductive methods of other animal species, informing readers on the history of beliefs and science concerning pregnancy. The author debunks myths about pregnancy and the development of the fetus, explaining how the human method of reproduction can explain a great deal about differences in behavior between the sexes. A Visitor Within discusses such health issues as the effects of diet and smoking, and includes a look into the future of human reproduction through advances in technology. "Bainbridge has written a highly informative, enlightening and amusing book on human pregnancy," asserted Paul M. Wassarman in a Nature online article. An American Scientist contributor stated that Bainbridge "peppers his writing with many … spicy facts."

With The X in Sex, Bainbridge explores the important differences that arise between males and females due to the fact that males have an X and a Y chromosome and females have two X chromosomes. One of the consequences of this design is the fact that males can be susceptible to diseases carried on the X chromosome that are not compensated for in the Y. Females possess a unique dual biology because their cells essentially "switch off" one of the X chromosomes. This means that half the cells in a woman's body are controlled by X chromosomes from their mothers, and half are governed by X chromosomes from their fathers. Critics found this fact-filled book both entertaining and informative, and Margaret Henderson added in her Library Journal assessment that the book is "well-written, well-researched, [and] easy to read." Booklist contributor Gilbert Taylor called The X in Sex a "fascinating, often humorous analysis of the science of sexuality."



American Journal of Human Biology, July-August, 2002, Robert G. Tague, review of Making Babies: The Science of Pregnancy, p. 540.

American Scientist, January-February, 2002, "Pregnancy, Planetary Nebulae, Painted Rocks," p. 74.

Booklist, August, 2001, William Beatty, review of Making Babies, p. 2068; February 1, 2003, Gilbert Taylor, review of The X in Sex: How the X Chromosome Controls Our Lives, p. 962.

Books & Culture, January-February, 2002, Bethany Torode, "Of Poetry and Polyspermy: The Natural History of Human Reproduction," p. 25.

Choice, February, 2002, review of Making Babies, p. 1074.

Fit Pregnancy, February-March, 2002, Bettyann Holtzmann Kevles, "Reproduction 101," p. 29.

Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2002, review of The X in Sex, p. 1743.

Library Journal, August, 2001, Barbara M. Bibel, review of Making Babies, p. 152; March 1, 2002, Gregg Sapp, "Trendy Science Spotting the Issues: 35 Titles Highlight Current Concerns," p. 58; March 15, 2003, Margaret Henderson, review of The X in Sex, p. 111.

New Scientist, June 28, 2003, Mark Ross, "The Hidden Depths of X," p. 50.

Science News, April 19, 2003, review of The X in Sex, p. 255.

Times Higher Education Supplement, April 25, 2003, Miriam Stoppard, "Slippery Dicks and X-Rated Iguana," p. 26.

Washington Post Book World, October 7, 2001, Judith Warner, "The Trouble with Men," p. 10.


Nature, (February, 2002), Paul M. Wassarman, review of Making Babies.*