Synopses & Reviews
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.
Excellent and imaginative and, similar to life itself, the book is full of surprises.Lane lays out processes of dizzying complexity in smooth, nimble prose.The emergence of life itself remains obscure. But as Lane shows with clarity and vigor, fascinating studies on the subject abound.If Charles Darwin sprang from his grave, I would give him this fine book to bring him up to speed. --Matt Ridley, author of The Red Queen
"The emergence of life itself remains obscure. But as Lane shows with clarity and vigor, fascinating studies on the subject abound." The New York Times
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.
"Original and awe-inspiring . . . an exhilarating tour of some of the most profound and important ideas in biology."--
'Original and awe-inspiring . . . an exhilarating tour of some of the most profound and important ideas in biology."New Scientist
A renowned biochemist draws on cutting-edge scientific findings to construct the mosaic of life"s astounding history.
About the Author
Nick Lane is a biochemist in the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment at University College London, and leads the UCL Origins of Life Program. He was awarded the 2015 Biochemical Society Award for his outstanding contribution to the molecular life sciences. He is the author of Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution, which won the 2010 Royal Society Prize for Science Books, as well as Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life and Oxygen: The Molecule that Made the World.