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The New Foundations Of Evolution

Author: Jan Sapp
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199889171
Size: 47.92 MB
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This is the story of a profound revolution in the way biologists explore life's history, understand its evolutionary processes, and reveal its diversity. It is about life's smallest entities, deepest diversity, and greatest cellular biomass: the microbiosphere. Jan Sapp introduces us to a new field of evolutionary biology and a new brand of molecular evolutionists who descend to the foundations of evolution on Earth to explore the origins of the genetic system and the primary life forms from which all others have emerged. In so doing, he examines-from Lamarck to the present-the means of pursuing the evolution of complexity, and of depicting the greatest differences among organisms. The New Foundations of Evolution takes us into a world that classical evolutionists could never have imagined: a deep phylogeny based on three domains of life and multiple kingdoms, and created by mechanisms very unlike those considered by Darwin and his followers. Evolution by leaps seems to occur regularly in the microbial world where molecular evolutionists have shown the inheritance of acquired genes and genomes are major modes of evolutionary innovation. Revisiting the history of microbiology for the first time from the perspective of evolutionary biology, Sapp shows why classical Darwinian conceptions centering on questions of the origin of species were forged without a microbial foundation, why classical microbiologists considered it impossible to know the course of evolution, and classical molecular biologists considered the evolution of the molecular genetic system to be beyond understanding. In telling this stirring story of scientific iconoclasm, this book elucidates how the new evolutionary biology arose, what methods and assumptions underpin it, and the fiery controversies that continue to shape biologists' understanding of the foundations of evolution today.

Genesis

Author: Jan Sapp
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198035503
Size: 42.94 MB
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Genesis: The Evolution of Biology presents a history of the past two centuries of biology, suitable for use in courses, but of interest more broadly to evolutionary biologists, geneticists, and biomedical scientists, as well as general readers interested in the history of science. The book covers the early evolutionary biologists-Lamarck, Cuvier, Darwin and Wallace through Mayr and the neodarwinian synthesis, in much the same way as other histories of evolution have done, bringing in also the social implications, the struggles with our religious understanding, and the interweaving of genetics into evolutionary theory. What is novel about Sapp's account is a real integration of the cytological tradition, from Schwann, Boveri, and the other early cell biologists and embryologists, and the coverage of symbiosis, microbial evolutionary phylogenies, and the new understanding of the diversification of life coming from comparative analyses of complete microbial genomes. The book is a history of theories about evolution, genes and organisms from Lamarck and Darwin to the present day. This is the first book on the general history of evolutionary biology to include the history of research and theories about symbiosis in evolution, and first to include research on microbial evolution which were excluded from the classical neo-Darwinian synthesis. Bacterial evolution, and symbiosis in evolution are also excluded from virtually every book on the history of biology.

The Tangled Tree

Author: David Quammen
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1476776644
Size: 37.61 MB
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Nonpareil science writer David Quammen explains how recent discoveries in molecular biology can change our understanding of evolution and life’s history, with powerful implications for human health and even our own human nature. In the mid-1970s, scientists began using DNA sequences to reexamine the history of all life. Perhaps the most startling discovery to come out of this new field—the study of life’s diversity and relatedness at the molecular level—is horizontal gene transfer (HGT), or the movement of genes across species lines. It turns out that HGT has been widespread and important. For instance, we now know that roughly eight percent of the human genome arrived not through traditional inheritance from directly ancestral forms, but sideways by viral infection—a type of HGT. In The Tangled Tree David Quammen, “one of that rare breed of science journalists who blends exploration with a talent for synthesis and storytelling” (Nature), chronicles these discoveries through the lives of the researchers who made them—such as Carl Woese, the most important little-known biologist of the twentieth century; Lynn Margulis, the notorious maverick whose wild ideas about “mosaic” creatures proved to be true; and Tsutomu Wantanabe, who discovered that the scourge of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a direct result of horizontal gene transfer, bringing the deep study of genome histories to bear on a global crisis in public health. “Quammen is no ordinary writer. He is simply astonishing, one of that rare class of writer gifted with verve, ingenuity, humor, guts, and great heart” (Elle). Now, in The Tangled Tree, he explains how molecular studies of evolution have brought startling recognitions about the tangled tree of life—including where we humans fit upon it. Thanks to new technologies such as CRISPR, we now have the ability to alter even our genetic composition—through sideways insertions, as nature has long been doing. The Tangled Tree is a brilliant guide to our transformed understanding of evolution, of life’s history, and of our own human nature.

Evolution In A Toxic World

Author: Emily Monosson
Publisher: Island Press
ISBN: 1610912217
Size: 51.59 MB
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With BPA in baby bottles, mercury in fish, and lead in computer monitors, the world has become a toxic place. But as Emily Monosson demonstrates in her groundbreaking new book, it has always been toxic. When oxygen first developed in Earth's atmosphere, it threatened the very existence of life: now we literally can't live without it. According to Monosson, examining how life adapted to such early threats can teach us a great deal about today's (and tomorrow's) most dangerous contaminants. While the study of evolution has advanced many other sciences, from conservation biology to medicine, the field of toxicology has yet to embrace this critical approach. In Evolution in a Toxic World, Monosson seeks to change that. She traces the development of life's defense systems—the mechanisms that transform, excrete, and stow away potentially harmful chemicals—frommore thanthree billion years ago to today. Beginning with our earliest ancestors' response to ultraviolet radiation, Monosson explores the evolution of chemical defenses such as antioxidants, metal binding proteins, detoxification, and cell death. As we alter the world's chemistry, these defenses often become overwhelmed faster than our bodies can adapt. But studying how our complex internal defense network currently operates, and how it came to be that way, may allow us to predict how it will react to novel and existing chemicals. This understanding could lead to not onlybetter management and preventative measures, but possibly treatment of current diseases. Development of that knowledge starts with this pioneering book.

Earth Life And System

Author: Bruce Clarke
Publisher: Fordham University Press
ISBN: 0823265269
Size: 36.77 MB
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Exploring the broad implications of evolutionary theorist Lynn Margulis's work, this collection brings together specialists across a range of disciplines, from paleontology, molecular biology, evolutionary theory, and geobiology to developmental systems theory, archaeology, history of science, cultural science studies, and literature and science. Addressing the multiple themes that animated Margulis's science, the essays within take up, variously, astrobiology and the origin of life, ecology and symbiosis from the microbial to the planetary scale, the coupled interactions of earthly environments and evolving life in Gaia theory and earth system science, and the connections of these newer scientific ideas to cultural and creative productions. Dorion Sagan acquaints the reader with salient issues in Lynn Margulis's scientific work, the controversies they raised, and the vocabulary necessary to follow the arguments. Sankar Chatterjee synthesizes several strands of current theory for the origin of life on earth. James Strick tells the intertwined origin stories of James Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis and Margulis's serial endosymbiosis theory. Jan Sapp explores the distinct phylogenetic visions of Margulis and Carl Woese. Susan Squier examines the epigenetics of embryologist and developmental biologist C. H. Waddington. Bruce Clarke studies the convergence of ecosystem ecology, systems theory, and science fiction between the 1960s and the 1980s. James Shapiro discusses the genome evolution that results not from random changes but rather from active cell processes. Susan Oyama shows how the concept of development balances an over-emphasis on genetic coding and other deterministic schemas. Christopher Witmore studies the ways in which a concentrated animal feeding operation, or CAFO, mixes up natural resources, animal lives, and human appetites. And Peter Westbroek brings the insights of earth system science toward a new worldview essential for a proper response to global change.

In Search Of Cell History

Author: Franklin M. Harold
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022617431X
Size: 72.52 MB
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The origin of cells remains one of the most fundamental problems in biology, one that over the past two decades has spawned a large body of research and debate. With In Search of Cell History, Franklin M. Harold offers a comprehensive, impartial take on that research and the controversies that keep the field in turmoil. Written in accessible language and complemented by a glossary for easy reference, this book investigates the full scope of cellular history. Assuming only a basic knowledge of cell biology, Harold examines such pivotal subjects as the relationship between cells and genes; the central role of bioenergetics in the origin of life; the status of the universal tree of life with its three stems and viral outliers; and the controversies surrounding the last universal common ancestor. He also delves deeply into the evolution of cellular organization, the origin of complex cells, and the incorporation of symbiotic organelles, and considers the fossil evidence for the earliest life on earth. In Search of Cell History shows us just how far we have come in understanding cell evolution—and the evolution of life in general—and how far we still have to go.

The Logic Of Chance

Author: Eugene V. Koonin
Publisher: FT Press
ISBN: 9780132623179
Size: 41.56 MB
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The Logic of Chance offers a reappraisal and a new synthesis of theories, concepts, and hypotheses on the key aspects of the evolution of life on earth in light of comparative genomics and systems biology. The author presents many specific examples from systems and comparative genomic analysis to begin to build a new, much more detailed, complex, and realistic picture of evolution. The book examines a broad range of topics in evolutionary biology including the inadequacy of natural selection and adaptation as the only or even the main mode of evolution; the key role of horizontal gene transfer in evolution and the consequent overhaul of the Tree of Life concept; the central, underappreciated evolutionary importance of viruses; the origin of eukaryotes as a result of endosymbiosis; the concomitant origin of cells and viruses on the primordial earth; universal dependences between genomic and molecular-phenomic variables; and the evolving landscape of constraints that shape the evolution of genomes and molecular phenomes. "Koonin's account of viral and pre-eukaryotic evolution is undoubtedly up-to-date. His "mega views" of evolution (given what was said above) and his cosmological musings, on the other hand, are interesting reading." Summing Up: Recommended Reprinted with permission from CHOICE, copyright by the American Library Association.

One Plus One Equals One

Author: John Archibald
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191636282
Size: 47.46 MB
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We are in the midst of a revolution. It is a scientific revolution built upon the tools of molecular biology, with which we probe and prod the living world in ways unimaginable a few decades ago. Need to track a bacterium at the root of a hospital outbreak? No problem: the offending germ's complete genetic profile can be obtained in 24 hours. We insert human DNA into E. coli bacteria to produce our insulin. It is natural to look at biotechnology in the 21st century with a mix of wonder and fear. But biotechnology is not as 'unnatural' as one might think. All living organisms use the same molecular processes to replicate their genetic material and the same basic code to 'read' their genes. The similarities can be seen in their DNA. Here, John Archibald shows how evolution has been 'plugging-and-playing' with the subcellular components of life from the very beginning and continues to do so today. For evidence, we need look no further than the inner workings of our own cells. Molecular biology has allowed us to gaze back more than three billion years, revealing the microbial mergers and acquisitions that underpin the development of complex life. One Plus One Equals One tells the story of how we have come to this realization and its implications.

Wilhelm Reich Biologist

Author: James E. Strick
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 067428688X
Size: 25.34 MB
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Wilhelm Reich’s experiments in the 1930s with cutting-edge light microscopy and time-lapse micro-cinematography were considered discredited, but not because of shoddy lab technique, as has been claimed. Scientific opposition to Reich’s experiments, James Strick argues, grew out of resistance to his unorthodox sexual theories and Marxist leanings.

Philosophy Of Biology

Author: Peter Godfrey-Smith
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400850444
Size: 36.77 MB
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This is a concise, comprehensive, and accessible introduction to the philosophy of biology written by a leading authority on the subject. Geared to philosophers, biologists, and students of both, the book provides sophisticated and innovative coverage of the central topics and many of the latest developments in the field. Emphasizing connections between biological theories and other areas of philosophy, and carefully explaining both philosophical and biological terms, Peter Godfrey-Smith discusses the relation between philosophy and science; examines the role of laws, mechanistic explanation, and idealized models in biological theories; describes evolution by natural selection; and assesses attempts to extend Darwin's mechanism to explain changes in ideas, culture, and other phenomena. Further topics include functions and teleology, individuality and organisms, species, the tree of life, and human nature. The book closes with detailed, cutting-edge treatments of the evolution of cooperation, of information in biology, and of the role of communication in living systems at all scales. Authoritative and up-to-date, this is an essential guide for anyone interested in the important philosophical issues raised by the biological sciences.