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Arrival Of The Fittest

Author: Andreas Wagner
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101628162
Size: 27.53 MB
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“Natural selection can preserve innovations, but it cannot create them. Nature’s many innovations—some uncannily perfect—call for natural principles that accelerate life’s ability to innovate.” Darwin’s theory of natural selection explains how useful adaptations are preserved over time. But the biggest mystery about evolution eluded him. As genetics pioneer Hugo de Vries put it, “natural selection may explain the survival of the fittest, but it cannot explain the arrival of the fittest.” Can random mutations over a mere 3.8 billion years really be responsible for wings, eyeballs, knees, camouflage, lactose digestion, photosynthesis, and the rest of nature’s creative marvels? And if the answer is no, what is the mechanism that explains evolution’s speed and efficiency? In Arrival of the Fittest, renowned evolutionary biologist Andreas Wagner draws on over fifteen years of research to present the missing piece in Darwin's theory. Using experimental and computational technologies that were heretofore unimagined, he has found that adaptations are not just driven by chance, but by a set of laws that allow nature to discover new molecules and mechanisms in a fraction of the time that random variation would take. Consider the Arctic cod, a fish that lives and thrives within six degrees of the North Pole, in waters that regularly fall below 0 degrees. At that temperature, the internal fluids of most organisms turn into ice crystals. And yet, the arctic cod survives by producing proteins that lower the freezing temperature of its body fluids, much like antifreeze does for a car’s engine coolant. The invention of those proteins is an archetypal example of nature’s enormous powers of creativity. Meticulously researched, carefully argued, evocatively written, and full of fascinating examples from the animal kingdom, Arrival of the Fittest offers up the final puzzle piece in the mystery of life’s rich diversity.

The Arrival Of The Fittest

Author: Andreas Wagner
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
ISBN: 1780745176
Size: 28.72 MB
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We all know about natural selection and the so-called survival of the fittest, which governs how evolution preserves useful adaptations in each subsequent generation of a species. Unfortunately, random change alone could not have produced life as we know it – the maths don't add up, according to cutting-edge research by Andreas Wagner in the revolutionary field of computational biology. In the last decade, Wagner has detected the biological networks guiding the creation of innovation. His investigations of the genes of everything from bacteria to humans is rewriting our understanding of how exactly evolution works and providing insights into the origins of creativity, with lessons that can be applied far beyond genomes. In The Arrival of the Fittest, Wagner delivers a breathtaking new look at our origins, from the genes up.

Arrival Of The Fittest

Author: Andreas Wagner
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1617230219
Size: 77.71 MB
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"Wagner draws on over fifteen years of research to present the missing piece in Darwin's theory. Using experimental and computational technologies that were heretofore unimagined, he has found that adaptations are not just driven by chance, but by a set of laws that allow nature to discover new molecules and mechanisms in a fraction of the time that random variation would take"--Amazon.com.

The Origins Of Evolutionary Innovations

Author: Andreas Wagner
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191621285
Size: 51.82 MB
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The history of life is a nearly four billion year old story of transformative change. This change ranges from dramatic macroscopic innovations such as the evolution of wings or eyes, to a myriad of molecular changes that form the basis of macroscopic innovations. We are familiar with many examples of innovations (qualitatively new phenotypes that provide a critical benefit) but have no systematic understanding of the principles that allow organisms to innovate. This book proposes several such principles as the basis of a theory of innovation, integrating recent knowledge about complex molecular phenotypes with more traditional Darwinian thinking. Central to the book are genotype networks: vast sets of connected genotypes that exist in metabolism and regulatory circuitry, as well as in protein and RNA molecules. The theory can successfully unify innovations that occur at different levels of organization. It captures known features of biological innovation, including the fact that many innovations occur multiple times independently, and that they combine existing parts of a system to new purposes. It also argues that environmental change is important to create biological systems that are both complex and robust, and shows how such robustness can facilitate innovation. Beyond that, the theory can reconcile neutralism and selectionism, as well as explain the role of phenotypic plasticity, gene duplication, recombination, and cryptic variation in innovation. Finally, its principles can be applied to technological innovation, and thus open to human engineering endeavours the powerful principles that have allowed life's spectacular success.

Paradoxical Life

Author: Andreas Wagner
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300156375
Size: 46.80 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
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What can a fingernail tell us about the mysteries of creation? In one sense, a nail is merely a hunk of mute matter, yet in another, it's an information superhighway quite literally at our fingertips. Every moment, streams of molecular signals direct our cells to move, flatten, swell, shrink, divide, or die. Andreas Wagner's ambitious new book explores this hidden web of unimaginably complex interactions in every living being. In the process, he unveils a host of paradoxes underpinning our understanding of modern biology, contradictions he considers gatekeepers at the frontiers of knowledge. Though we tend to think of concepts in such mutually exclusive pairs as mind-matter, self-other, and nature-nurture, Wagner argues that these opposing ideas are not actually separate. Indeed, they are as inextricably connected as the two sides of a coin. Through a tour of modern biological marvels, Wagner illustrates how this paradoxical tension has a profound effect on the way we define the world around us. Paradoxical Life is thus not only a unique account of modern biology. It ultimately serves a radical--and optimistic--outlook for humans and the world we help create.

Egg

Author: Robin Page
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0547959095
Size: 61.93 MB
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The Caldecott Honor-winning team cracks the code of the incredible egg, exploring how a simple, often colorful, sometimes surprisingly shaped package, reveals nature's life cycle, unusual animal defensive strategies, parenting behavior, evolution and more, in this beautifully illustrated nonfiction picture book. 40,000 first printing.

The Snowflake

Author: Kenneth Libbrecht
Publisher: Voyageur Press
ISBN: 1627887334
Size: 64.89 MB
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Take a deeper look at the unique, hidden beauty of winter with the world's foremost snowflake expert. From ten thousand feet above the Earth, a snowflake begins its fall. Its journey starts when ice forms around a nucleus of dust and is blown by the winds through clouds where the crystals blossom into tiny ice stars. Because it weighs next to nothing, a snow crystal may take hours to fall--finally landing where Caltech physicist Kenneth Libbrecht can use microphotography to record the tiny, intricate, frozen artistry of the snowflake. In The Snowflake: Winter's Frozen Artistry, Libbrecht teams with author Rachel Wing to create the most fascinating book on snowflakes ever published. This book defines the art and science of snowflakes for generations. Join Libbrecht and Wing as they charmingly chronicle the creation of snow crystals, both in nature and in the laboratory. The Snowflake: Winter's Frozen Artistry touches the hand of Mother Nature, showing incredible microphotography of individual snow crystals from all over the world. The book tells the history of snowflake observations mixed with an entertaining blend of tales of hunting snowflakes, snowflakes in literature and art, and the science of snowflakes, to bring a flurry of delightful snowflakes into the hands of warm-bodied humans everywhere. With this captivating book, we can better appreciate snowflakes, winter's frozen artistry.

God S Body

Author: Andreas Wagner
Publisher: Bloomsbury T&T Clark
ISBN: 9780567655981
Size: 31.42 MB
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Images of the body in ancient Near Eastern civilizations are radically different from body images today. This has significant consequences for our understanding of the biblical notion of God's human shape; there are bound to be misconceptions. Andreas Wagner illuminates these misconceptions, and reveals the sometimes distant pictorial world of ancient body images. He contrasts these with contemporary models and makes the matter of the Old Testament concept of God's human form accessible and clear in this exciting, richly detailed work. Wagner begins with three methodological chapters, introducing readers to aspects of anthropomorphism and the study of body parts. He looks at Israel's basic understanding of the human body, and then turns specifically to the body of God, examining and explaining why and how certain body parts are emphasized or regularly employed in the biblical text when it tries to describe God. Wagner also considers the diverse range of ancient Near Eastern perspectives on God, and the ways in which ancient cultures constructed and understood deities. God's Bodies will lead the debate in biblical anthropomorphism for years to come.

It S All A Game

Author: Tristan Donovan
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 1250082730
Size: 18.60 MB
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"[A] timely book...It’s All a Game provides a wonderfully entertaining trip around the board, through 4,000 years of game history." —The Wall Street Journal Board games have been with us longer than even the written word. But what is it about this pastime that continues to captivate us well into the age of smartphones and instant gratification? In It’s All a Game, British journalist and renowned games expert Tristan Donovan opens the box on the incredible and often surprising history and psychology of board games. He traces the evolution of the game across cultures, time periods, and continents, from the paranoid Chicago toy genius behind classics like Operation and Mouse Trap, to the role of Monopoly in helping prisoners of war escape the Nazis, and even the scientific use of board games today to teach artificial intelligence how to reason and how to win. With these compelling stories and characters, Donovan ultimately reveals why board games have captured hearts and minds all over the world for generations.

Life S Greatest Secret

Author: Matthew Cobb
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465062660
Size: 33.61 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Everyone has heard of the story of DNA as the story of Watson and Crick and Rosalind Franklin, but knowing the structure of DNA was only a part of a greater struggle to understand life’s secrets. Life’s Greatest Secret is the story of the discovery and cracking of the genetic code, the thing that ultimately enables a spiraling molecule to give rise to the life that exists all around us. This great scientific breakthrough has had farreaching consequences for how we understand ourselves and our place in the natural world, and for how we might take control of our (and life’s) future. Life’s Greatest Secret mixes remarkable insights, theoretical dead-ends, and ingenious experiments with the swift pace of a thriller. From New York to Paris, Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Cambridge, England, and London to Moscow, the greatest discovery of twentieth-century biology was truly a global feat. Biologist and historian of science Matthew Cobb gives the full and rich account of the cooperation and competition between the eccentric characters—mathematicians, physicists, information theorists, and biologists—who contributed to this revolutionary new science. And, while every new discovery was a leap forward for science, Cobb shows how every new answer inevitably led to new questions that were at least as difficult to answer: just ask anyone who had hoped that the successful completion of the Human Genome Project was going to truly yield the book of life, or that a better understanding of epigenetics or “junk DNA” was going to be the final piece of the puzzle. But the setbacks and unexpected discoveries are what make the science exciting, and it is Matthew Cobb’s telling that makes them worth reading. This is a riveting story of humans exploring what it is that makes us human and how the world works, and it is essential reading for anyone who’d like to explore those questions for themselves.