Power, Sex, Suicide

Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life

Author: Nick Lane

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0198831900

Category: Science

Page: 560

View: 1797

Mitochondria are tiny structures located inside our cells that carry out the essential task of producing energy for the cell. They are found in all complex living things, and in that sense, they are fundamental for driving complex life on the planet. But there is much more to them than that. Mitochondria have their own DNA, with their own small collection of genes, separate from those in the cell nucleus. It is thought that they were once bacteria living independent lives. Their enslavement within the larger cell was a turning point in the evolution of life, enabling the development of complex organisms and, closely related, the origin of two sexes. Unlike the DNA in the nucleus, mitochondrial DNA is passed down exclusively (or almost exclusively) via the female line. That's why it has been used by some researchers to trace human ancestry daughter-to-mother, to 'Mitochondrial Eve'. Mitochondria give us important information about our evolutionary history. And that's not all. Mitochondrial genes mutate much faster than those in the nucleus because of the free radicals produced in their energy-generating role. This high mutation rate lies behind our ageing and certain congenital diseases. The latest research suggests that mitochondria play a key role in degenerative diseases such as cancer, through their involvement in precipitating cell suicide. Mitochondria, then, are pivotal in power, sex, and suicide. In this fascinating and thought-provoking book, Nick Lane brings together the latest research findings in this exciting field to show how our growing understanding of mitochondria is shedding light on how complex life evolved, why sex arose (why don't we just bud?), and why we age and die. This understanding is of fundamental importance, both in understanding how we and all other complex life came to be, but also in order to be able to control our own illnesses, and delay our degeneration and death. Oxford Landmark Science books are 'must-read' classics of modern science writing which have crystallized big ideas, and shaped the way we think.

Power, Sex, Suicide : Mitochondria and the meaning of life

Mitochondria and the meaning of life

Author: Nick Lane

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 9780192804815

Category: Science

Page: 372

View: 5005

Mitochondria are tiny structures within all our cells, believed to have once evolved from bacteria living independent lives. Drawing on cutting edge research, this book explores the fundamental role they play in some of the biggest themes in biology: evolution, the origin of the sexes, in growth, ageing, disease, and in death. - ;Power, Sex, Suicide, Complexity, Individuality, Fertility, Prehistory, Ageing, Death. These universal themes are all linked by mitochondria - the tiny structures located inside our cells - miniature powerhouses that use oxygen to generate power. There are hundreds of them in each cell, some 10 million billion in a human being. Once considered menial slaves, mere workhorses for complex cells with nuclei, their significance is now undergoing a radical revision. Mitochondria are now seen as the key ingredient that made complex life possible at all. For two billion years, bacteria ruled the earth without ever generating true complexity - a stasis that may still grip life on other planets. Then the union of two bacterial cells led to an evolutionary big bang, from which algae, fungi, plants and animals emerged. For mitochondria were once free-living bacteria, and still retain unmistakable traits of their ancestry, including some of their original DNA. Ever since their fateful absorption, the tortuous and unpredictable relationship between the mitochondria and their host cells has forced one evolutionary innovation after another. Without mitochondria, nothing would exist of the world we know and love. Their story is the story of life itself. Today, mitochondria are central to research into human prehistory, genetic diseases, cell suicide, fertility, ageing, bioenergetics, sex and the eukaryotic cell. Piecing together puzzles from the forefront of research, this book paints a sweeping canvas that will thrill all who are interested in biology, while also contributing to evolutionary thinking and debate. This is a book full of startling insights into the nature and evolution of life, and should be read by anyone who wants to know why we're here. - ;Challenging, but rewarding. - Observer;Full of startling insights into the nature and evolution of life as we know it. - Economist Best Books of the Year, 2005;An enthralling account...The author has accomplished something quite breathtaking...moreover,he brings the science alive...he is always accessible, livley, thought-provoking, and informative. Every biologist should read this book - ;'Power, Sex, Suicide is an enjoyable and readable book....anyone interested in the broader and more philosophical aspects of their discipline will profit from reading the book' - David G. Nicholls, Science;impressive....a polemical book...readable, provocative and often persuasive....This is an exciting and unusual book. - Jonathan Hodgkin, Times Literary Supplement

Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution

Author: Nick Lane

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0393071464

Category: Science

Page: 352

View: 2264

“Original and awe-inspiring . . . an exhilarating tour of some of the most profound and important ideas in biology.”—New Scientist Where does DNA come from? What is consciousness? How did the eye evolve? Drawing on a treasure trove of new scientific knowledge, Nick Lane expertly reconstructs evolution’s history by describing its ten greatest inventions—from sex and warmth to death—resulting in a stunning account of nature’s ingenuity.

Leben

verblüffende Erfindungen der Evolution

Author: Nick Lane

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9783863123611

Category: Electronic books

Page: 368

View: 3906

Hexensaat

Roman

Author: Margaret Atwood

Publisher: Albrecht Knaus Verlag

ISBN: 3641161436

Category: Fiction

Page: 320

View: 7911

Alles ist Illusion – Margaret Atwoods Verneigung vor dem großen Bühnenmagier William Shakespeare Felix ist ein begnadeter Theatermacher und in der Szene ein Star. Seine Inszenierungen sind herausfordernd, aufregend, legendär. Nun will er Shakespeares „Der Sturm“ auf die Bühne bringen. Das soll ihn noch berühmter machen – und ihm helfen, eine private Tragödie zu vergessen. Doch nach einer eiskalten Intrige seiner engsten Mitarbeiter zieht sich Felix zurück, verliert sich in Erinnerungen und sinnt auf Rache. Die Gelegenheit kommt zwölf Jahre später, als ein Zufall die Verräter in seine Nähe bringt. In ihrem brillanten Roman schafft die große kanadische Autorin Margaret Atwood mit der Figur des Theaterdirektors Felix ein würdiges Pendant zu Shakespeares Prospero aus „Der Sturm“, jenes Zauberers, der als ein Selbstporträt des alternden Barden aus Stratford-on-Avon gilt.

Evolution für Dummies

Author: Greg Krukonis,Tracy Barr

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 3527669000

Category: Science

Page: 374

View: 4502

Von Darwin bis DNA – Ihr Wegweiser durch die Evolution Von Ihrem Körperbau bis zu Ihrem Verhalten bei der Partnerwahl – all Ihre vererbbaren Eigenschaften sind wie bei allen Lebewesen durch die Evolution bestimmt. Aber was ist Evolution überhaupt? Was treibt sie an? In diesem Buch erfahren Sie alles, was Sie über Evolution wissen müssen: Was genetische Variabilität ist, wie neue Arten entstehen, welchen Evolutionsvorteil soziales Verhalten bringt und vieles, vieles mehr. Greg Krukonis und Tracy Barr nehmen Sie mit auf eine spannende Reise durch die Geschichte der Evolution – von Darwins Theorie bis zu den neuesten wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnissen.

Eine kurze Geschichte der Genetik

Author: Rolf Knippers

Publisher: Springer-Verlag

ISBN: 3827429145

Category: Science

Page: 324

View: 3380

Der Rückblick auf 100 Jahre Genetik ergibt eine faszinierende Geschichte, die in diesem Buch leicht und gut verständlich erzählt wird. Genforschung, Genetik in Landwirtschaft und Medizin sind viel verwendete Wörter in öffentlichen Debatten. Dabei ist nicht jedem bekannt, dass Genetik eine junge Wissenschaft ist, gerade einmal hundert Jahre alt. Der zentrale Begriff des Gens hat ständig neue Bedeutungen erhalten, oft befrachtet mit Ungenauigkeiten, wenn man an die Irrwege der Eugenik und an die Diskussion um die Vererbbarkeit von Intelligenz denkt.

The Dome of Eden

A New Solution to the Problem of Creation and Evolution

Author: Stephen H. Webb

Publisher: Wipf and Stock Publishers

ISBN: 1630874221

Category: Religion

Page: 374

View: 1203

What would biology look like if it took the problem of natural evil seriously? This book argues that biological descriptions of evolution are inherently moral, just as the biblical story of creation has biological implications. A complete account of evolution will therefore require theological input. The Dome of Eden does not try to harmonize evolution and creation. Harmonizers typically begin with Darwinism and then try to add just enough religion to make evolution more palatable, or they begin with Genesis and pry open the creation account just wide enough to let in a little bit of evolution. By contrast, Stephen Webb provides a theory of how evolution and theology fit together, and he argues that this kind of theory is required by the internal demands of both theology and biology. The Dome of Eden also develops a theological account of evolution that is distinct from the intelligent design movement. Webb shows how intelligent design properly discerns the inescapable dimension of purpose in nature but, like Darwinism itself, fails to make sense of the problem of natural evil. Finally, this book draws on the work of Karl Barth to advance a new reading of the Genesis narrative and the theology of Duns Scotus to provide the necessary metaphysical foundation for evolutionary thought.

Milton, Evil and Literary History

Author: Claire Colebrook

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 1441103627

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 168

View: 9233

Milton, Evil and Literary History addresses the ways in which we read literary history according to quite specific images of growth, development, progression, flourishing and succession. Goodness has always been aligned with a life of expansion, creation, production and fruition, while evil is associated with the inert, non-relational, static and stagnant. These associations have also underpinned a distinction between good and evil notions of capitalism, where good exchange enables agents to enhance their living potential and is contrasted with the evils of a capitalist system that circulates without any reference to life or spirit. Such images of a ghostly and technical economy divorced from animating origin are both central to Milton's theology and poetry and to the theories of literary history through which Milton is read. Regarded as a radical precursor to Romanticism, Milton's poetry supposedly requires the release of his radical spiritual content from the fetters of received orthodoxy. This literary and historical imagery of releasing the radical spirit of a text from the dead weight of received tradition is, this book argues, the dominant doxa of historicism and one which a counter-reading of Milton ought to question.

The Vital Question

Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life

Author: Nick Lane

Publisher: W. W. Norton

ISBN: 9780393352979

Category: Science

Page: 368

View: 2383

One of the deepest, most illuminating books about the history of life to have been published in recent years. The Economist"

One Plus One Equals One

Symbiosis and the evolution of complex life

Author: John Archibald

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191636282

Category: Science

Page: 288

View: 7689

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.

What is Life?

Investigating the Nature of Life in the Age of Synthetic Biology

Author: Edward Regis

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0195383419

Category: Science

Page: 198

View: 7877

Erwin Schrödinger's 1944 classic What Is Life? is a small book that occupies a large place among the great written works of the twentieth century. It is said that it helped launch the modern revolution in biology and genetics, and inspired a generation of scientists, including Watson and Crick, to explore the riddle of life itself. Now, more than sixty years later, science writer Ed Regis offers an intriguing look at where this quest stands today. Regis ranges widely here, illuminating many diverse efforts to solve one of science's great mysteries. He examines the genesis of Schrödinger's great book--which first debuted as three public lectures in Dublin--and details the fantastic reception his ideas received, both in Europe and America. Regis also introduces us to the work of a remarkable group of scientists who are attempting literally to create life from scratch, starting with molecular components that they hope to assemble into the world's first synthetic living cell. The book also examines how scientists have unlocked the "three secrets of life," describes the key role played by ATP ("the ultimate driving force of all life"), and outlines the many attempts to explain how life first arose on earth, a puzzle that has given birth to a wide range of theories (which Francis Crick dismissed as "too much speculation running after too few facts"), from the primordial sandwich theory, to the theory that life arose in clay, in deep-sea vents, or in oily bubbles at the seashore, right up to Freeman Dyson's "theory of double origins." Written in a lively and accessible style, and bringing together a wide range of cutting-edge research, What is Life? makes an illuminating contribution to this ancient and ever-fascinating debate.

Genomics and Bioinformatics

An Introduction to Programming Tools for Life Scientists

Author: Tore Samuelsson

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107378338

Category: Science

Page: N.A

View: 5063

With the arrival of genomics and genome sequencing projects, biology has been transformed into an incredibly data-rich science. The vast amount of information generated has made computational analysis critical and has increased demand for skilled bioinformaticians. Designed for biologists without previous programming experience, this textbook provides a hands-on introduction to Unix, Perl and other tools used in sequence bioinformatics. Relevant biological topics are used throughout the book and are combined with practical bioinformatics examples, leading students through the process from biological problem to computational solution. All of the Perl scripts, sequence and database files used in the book are available for download at the accompanying website, allowing the reader to easily follow each example using their own computer. Programming examples are kept at an introductory level, avoiding complex mathematics that students often find daunting. The book demonstrates that even simple programs can provide powerful solutions to many complex bioinformatics problems.

Antimaterie

Author: Frank Close

Publisher: Spektrum Akademischer Verlag

ISBN: 9783827425317

Category: Science

Page: 228

View: 6792

Genesis Im Anfang w ar Leere: „Finsternis lag über der Ur ut“. Dann kam es zu einem gewaltigen Energieausbruch: „Es werde Licht. Und es wurde Licht.“ Woher diese Energie kam, weiß ich nicht. Bekannt ist jedoc h, was anschließend geschah: Die Energie kondensierte zu Materie und ihrem geheimn- vollen Spiegelbild – der Antimaterie – in vollkommen gl- chen Mengen. Gewöhnliche Materie ist uns vertraut; aus ihr bestehen Luft und Erde und die Lebewesen. Doch ihr getreues, in allen Erscheinungen identisches Spiegelbild, das erst im Inneren der Atome seine „verkehrte“ Natur offenbart, ist uns mehr als fremd. Es ist die Antimaterie, die Antithese zur Materie. Antimaterie gibt es heute nicht in größeren Mengen, zumindest nicht auf der Erde. Der Grund für ihr V- schwinden gehört zu den unerklärten Geheimnissen des Universums. Wir wissen aber, dass Antimaterie existiert, denn sie konnte in physikalischen Experimenten in win- gen Mengen hergestellt werden. Antimaterie zerstört jede gewöhnliche Materie, mit der sie in Berührung kommt, in einem grellen Blitz. Die seit XII Vorwort Milliarden von Jahren gebündelte Energie der Materie wird in einem solchen Augenblick explosionsartig frei- setzt. Antimaterie könnte die ideale Energiequelle werden, die Technologie des 21. Jahrhunderts. Doch ihre Fähigkeit zur absoluten Zerstörung könnte sie auch zu einer ulti- tiven Massenvernichtungswaffe machen.

Sexual Difference Between Psychoanalysis and Vitalism

Author: Arun Saldanha,Hoon Song

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317396359

Category: Philosophy

Page: 182

View: 5200

Throughout the twentieth century, psychoanalysis and feminism were the practico-intellectual fields most systematic and subversive in demonstrating that humanity is sexually fissured. More recently, further advances in the philosophy of difference and renewed emphases on embodiment, materiality and life offer possibilities for attending to dimensions of gender and sexuality that were previously underdeveloped. This collection examines these possibilities insofar as they can either deepen or displace the traditional centrality of psychoanalysis in matters sexual. The authors come from a wide range of backgrounds and defend their approaches to the problem of sexual difference in a variety of idioms, drawing on key thinkers such as Lacan, Irigaray, Deleuze, Foucault and Badiou. It is rare to come across these thinkers together; but sex is too crucial a site for critical thought not to mobilize every conceptual power available. This book was originally published as a special issue of the journal Angelaki: The Journal of the Theoretical Humanities.

Animal Signaling and Function

An Integrative Approach

Author: Duncan J. Irschick,Mark Briffa,Jeffrey Podos

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 1118966600

Category: Science

Page: 272

View: 9281

The diversity of animal signals has been widely documented, and the generality of animal signals also tantalizingly suggests that there are common mechanisms that have selected for their origin. However, while much progress has been made on some fronts, we still lack a general theory about why the diversity of signaling structures exist. Our compilation will directly address this gap by focusing on an exciting new arena of sexual selection, namely using functional approaches to understand signaling. This approach is rooted in the idea that many signals are designed to transmit important functional imformation that is both important for issues of male quality (and hence male competition), and female choice. The increasing use of technology in sexual selection studies has enabled researchers to test whether signaling is either constrained by, or accurately transmits information about functional capacities. Further, in animals that fight vigorously, functional capacities such as endurance or strength may make the difference between winning and losing. This volume brings together a diverse collection of researchers who are actively investigating how function and signaling are related. These researchers use both a variety of methods and taxa to study animal signaling, and we believe that this integrative view is important to open up fresh vistas for why animal signals have evolved.

The Cell: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Terence Allen,Graham Cowling

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191620262

Category: Science

Page: 160

View: 9613

All living things on Earth are composed of cells. A cell is the simplest unit of a self-contained living organism, and the vast majority of life on Earth consists of single-celled microbes, mostly bacteria. These consist of a simple 'prokaryotic' cell, with no nucleus. The bodies of more complex plants and animals consist of billions of 'eukaryotic' cells, of varying kinds, adapted to fill different roles - red blood cells, muscle cells, branched neurons. Each cell is an astonishingly complex chemical factory, the activities of which we have only begun to unravel in the past fifty years or so through modern techniques of microscopy, biochemistry, and molecular biology. In this Very Short Introduction, Terence Allen and Graham Cowling describe the nature of cells - their basic structure, their varying forms, their division, their differentiation from initially highly flexible stem cells, their signalling, and programmed death. Cells are the basic constituent of life, and understanding cells and how they work is central to all biology and medicine. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.