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The Triple Helix: Gene, Organism, and Environment


The Triple Helix: Gene, Organism, and Environment Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

One of our most brilliant evolutionary biologists, Richard Lewontin has also been a leading critic of those--scientists and non-scientists alike--who would misuse the science to which he has contributed so much. In The Triple Helix, Lewontin the scientist and Lewontin the critic come together to provide a concise, accessible account of what his work has taught him about biology and about its relevance to human affairs. In the process, he exposes some of the common and troubling misconceptions that misdirect and stall our understanding of biology and evolution. The central message of this book is that we will never fully understand living things if we continue to think of genes, organisms, and environments as separate entities, each with its distinct role to play in the history and operation of organic processes. Here Lewontin shows that an organism is a unique consequence of both genes and environment, of both internal and external features. Rejecting the notion that genes determine the organism, which then adapts to the environment, he explains that organisms, influenced in their development by their circumstances, in turn create, modify, and choose the environment in which they live. The Triple Helix is vintage Lewontin: brilliant, eloquent, passionate, and deeply critical. But it is neither a manifesto for a radical new methodology nor a brief for a new theory. It is instead a primer on the complexity of biological processes, a reminder to all of us that living things are never as simple as they may seem.

About the Author

Richard Lewontin is Alexander Agassiz Research Professor at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University. His many books include Biology and Ideology, Not in Our Genes, and Human Diversity.

Harvard University

Table of Contents

  • I. Gene and Organism
  • II. Organism and Environment
  • III. Parts and Wholes, Causes and Effects
  • IV. Directions in the Study of Biology
  • Notes
  • Index

Product Details

Lewontin, Richard C.
Harvard University Press
Lewontin, Richard
Philosophy & Social Aspects
Life Sciences - Evolution
Science : Life Sciences - Biology
SCIENCE / Life Sciences/Evolution
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
February 2002
Grade Level:
16 line illustrations, 1 halftone, 2 tab
7.5 x 5 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » World History » General
Reference » Science Reference » Philosophy of Science
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Evolution
Science and Mathematics » Biology » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Genetics
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Zoology » General
Science and Mathematics » Popular Science » Essays

The Triple Helix: Gene, Organism, and Environment New Trade Paper
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Product details 144 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674006775 Reviews:
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