Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution (Hardcover)

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Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution (Hardcover)


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A renowned biochemist draws on cutting-edge scientific findings to construct the mosaic of life’s astounding history.

How did life invent itself? Where did DNA come from? How did consciousness develop? Powerful new research methods are providing vivid insights into the makeup of life. Comparing gene sequences, examining atomic structures of proteins, and looking into the geochemistry of rocks have helped explain evolution in more detail than ever before. Nick Lane expertly reconstructs the history of life by describing the ten greatest inventions of evolution (including DNA, photosynthesis, sex, and sight), based on their historical impact, role in organisms today, and relevance to current controversies. Who would have guessed that eyes started off as light-sensitive spots used to calibrate photosynthesis in algae? Or that DNA’s building blocks form spontaneously in hydrothermal vents? Lane gives a gripping, lucid account of nature’s ingenuity, and the result is a work of essential reading for anyone who has ever pondered or questioned the science underlying evolution’s greatest gifts to man.
Nick Lane is professor of evolutionary biochemistry at University College London and an award-winning author of five books. He is the codirector of UCL’s Centre for Life’s Origins and Evolution (CLOE) and lives in London, England.
Product Details ISBN: 9780393065961
ISBN-10: 0393065960
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: June 22nd, 2009
Pages: 352
Language: English
Original and awe-inspiring... an exhilarating tour of some of the most profound and important ideas in biology.
— Michael Le Page - New Scientist