Power, Sex, Suicide

Mitochondria and the meaning of life

Author: Nick Lane

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0192567853

Category: Science

Page: 512

View: 2952

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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.
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Power, Sex, Suicide

Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life

Author: Nick Lane

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199205647

Category: Science

Page: 354

View: 4170

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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. 'An extraordinary account of groundbreaking modern science... The book abounds with interesting and important ideas.' Mark Ridley, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford
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Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution

Author: Nick Lane

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0393071464

Category: Science

Page: 352

View: 4334

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“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.
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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: 6589

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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.
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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: 3298

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

Author: Claire Colebrook

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 1441103627

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 168

View: 9133

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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.
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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: 9917

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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.
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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: 9501

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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.
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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: 3694

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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.
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Sexual Difference Between Psychoanalysis and Vitalism

Author: Arun Saldanha,Hoon Song

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317396359

Category: Philosophy

Page: 182

View: 4116

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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.
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