Mendel's Demon

Mendel's Demon : Gene Justice and the Complexity of Life

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The existence of complex life is one of the great mysteries of evolution, for complexity is neither inevitable nor necessary. Indeed, as Mark Ridley shows in this important and thought-provoking book, two major biological hurdles had to be overcome to allow living complexity to evolve. Complex life is constructed from more genes than simple life. But as gene numbers increase, so too do the number of copying errors - it is easier to make a mistake copying the Bible than copying an advertising slogan. Similarly, natural selection encourages gene selfishness, and genes could easily evolve to subvert complex life forms. In retracing the history of life on our planet - from the initial wobbly replicating molecules, through microbes, worms and flies and ultimately to humans - Ridley reveals how life has evolved as a series of steps to deal with error and coerce genes to co-operate within each body. Mendel's Demon offers startling novel perspectives on matters as disparate as the origins of sex and gender, potential cures for AIDS, corporate mergers and acquisitions, and the long-term perils of human more

Product details

  • Paperback | 432 pages
  • 130 x 192 x 24mm | 281.23g
  • Orion Publishing Co
  • Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0753814102
  • 9780753814109

About Mark Ridley

Mark Ridley is in the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford. He was formerly assistant professor of anthropology and biology at Emory University, Georgia, USA. He has also been a research fellow at St Catherine's College, Cambridge, and at Linacre, Oriel and New Colleges, Oxford. He is the author of the acclaimed student textbook Evolution and is a regular contributor to The New York Times, The Sunday Times, Nature, New Scientist and The TLS, among other publications. Mendel's Demon is his long-awaited trade more

Rating details

61 ratings
3.9 out of 5 stars
5 26% (16)
4 44% (27)
3 23% (14)
2 7% (4)
1 0% (0)
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