Life Ascending

Life Ascending : The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution

By (author) Nick Lane

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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.

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  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 154.94 x 238.76 x 33.02mm | 544.31g
  • 22 Jun 2009
  • WW Norton & Co
  • New York
  • English
  • 20 figures
  • 0393065960
  • 9780393065961
  • 180,338

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Author Information

Nick Lane is a biochemist and professor of evolutionary biology at University College London. He is the author of Power, Sex, Suicide, named an Economist Book of the Year and shortlisted for the Aventis Science Book Prize; and Life Ascending, winner of the Royal Society Prize for Science Books.

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Review quote

"Original and awe-inspiring... an exhilarating tour of some of the most profound and important ideas in biology." -- Michael Le Page

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