The Extended Phenotype

The Long Reach of the Gene

Author: Richard Dawkins

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198788916

Category:

Page: 496

View: 3223

In The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins crystallized the gene's eye view of evolution developed by W.D. Hamilton and others. The book provoked widespread and heated debate. Written in part as a response, The Extended Phenotype gave a deeper clarification of the central concept of the gene as theunit of selection; but it did much more besides. In it, Dawkins extended the gene's eye view to argue that the genes that sit within an organism have an influence that reaches out beyond the visible traits in that body - the phenotype - to the wider environment, which can include other individuals.So, for instance, the genes of the beaver drive it to gather twigs to produce the substantial physical structure of a dam; and the genes of the cuckoo chick produce effects that manipulate the behaviour of the host bird, making it nurture the intruder as one of its own. This notion of the extendedphenotype has proved to be highly influential in the way we understand evolution and the natural world. It represents a key scientific contribution to evolutionary biology, and it continues to play an important role in research in the life sciences.The Extended Phenotype is a conceptually deep book that forms important reading for biologists and students. But Dawkins' clear exposition is accessible to all who are prepared to put in a little effort.Oxford Landmark Science books are 'must-read' classics of modern science writing which have crystallized big ideas, and shaped the way we think.

The Extended Selfish Gene

Author: Richard Dawkins

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 9780198788782

Category: Science

Page: 560

View: 3549

The Selfish Gene is a classic exposition of evolutionary thought. In it Professor Dawkins articulates a gene's eye view of evolution - a view giving centre stage to these persistent units of information, and in which organisms can be seen as vehicles for the replication of genes. The book provoked widespread and heated debate, which in part led Dawkins to write The Extended Phenotype, in which he gave a deeper clarification of the central concept of the gene as the unit of selection, as well as contributing his own development of this insight. For the first time, The Extended Selfish Gene brings these two books together, by including two key chapters from The Extended Phenotype. These chapters provide Dawkins's detailed and powerful response to two issues raised by critics of The Selfish Gene: the accusations of genetic determinism (the idea that our behaviour is entirely determined by our genes), and of "adaptationism" (that all traits are indiscriminately perceived to be adaptations resulting from natural selection). While written in particular for the biology community, Dawkins's clarity of expression allows these chapters to be accessible to all who are seriously engaged with the gene's eye view and its implications. The imaginative, powerful, and stylistically brilliant Selfish Gene not only brought the insights of Neo-Darwinism to a wide audience, but galvanized the biology community, generating much debate and stimulating whole new areas of research. Forty years later, its insights remain as significant as on the day it was published. Along with the two extra chapters, The Extended Selfish Gene includes a new epilogue to The Selfish Gene from the author which highlights the relevance of the gene's eye view to evolutionary biology today.

The Selfish Gene

Author: Richard Dawkins

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 9780192860927

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 352

View: 8305

An ethologist shows man to be a gene machine whose world is one of savage competition and deceit

Climbing Mount Improbable

Author: Richard Dawkins

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0393070522

Category: Science

Page: 352

View: 6537

A brilliant book celebrating improbability as the engine that drives life, by the acclaimed author of The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker. The human eye is so complex and works so precisely that surely, one might believe, its current shape and function must be the product of design. How could such an intricate object have come about by chance? Tackling this subject—in writing that the New York Times called "a masterpiece"—Richard Dawkins builds a carefully reasoned and lovingly illustrated argument for evolutionary adaptation as the mechanism for life on earth. The metaphor of Mount Improbable represents the combination of perfection and improbability that is epitomized in the seemingly "designed" complexity of living things. Dawkins skillfully guides the reader on a breathtaking journey through the mountain's passes and up its many peaks to demonstrate that following the improbable path to perfection takes time. Evocative illustrations accompany Dawkins's eloquent descriptions of extraordinary adaptations such as the teeming populations of figs, the intricate silken world of spiders, and the evolution of wings on the bodies of flightless animals. And through it all runs the thread of DNA, the molecule of life, responsible for its own destiny on an unending pilgrimage through time. Climbing Mount Improbable is a book of great impact and skill, written by the most prominent Darwinian of our age.

Natural Selection in the Wild

Author: John A. Endler

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9780691083872

Category: Science

Page: 336

View: 3344

Natural selection is an immense and important subject, yet there have been few attempts to summarize its effects on natural populations, and fewer still which discuss the problems of working with natural selection in the wild. These are the purposes of John Endler's book. In it, he discusses the methods and problems involved in the demonstration and measurement of natural selection, presents the critical evidence for its existence, and places it in an evolutionary perspective. Professor Endler finds that there are a remarkable number of direct demonstrations of selection in a wide variety of animals and plants. The distribution of observed magnitudes of selection in natural populations is surprisingly broad, and it overlaps extensively the range of values found in artificial selection. He argues that the common assumption that selection is usually weak in natural populations is no longer tenable, but that natural selection is only one component of the process of evolution; natural selection can explain the change of frequencies of variants, but not their origins.

Unweaving the Rainbow

Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder

Author: Richard Dawkins

Publisher: HMH

ISBN: 9780547347356

Category: Science

Page: 354

View: 7061

From the New York Times–bestselling author of Science in the Soul. “If any recent writing about science is poetic, it is this” (The Wall Street Journal). Did Newton “unweave the rainbow” by reducing it to its prismatic colors, as Keats contended? Did he, in other words, diminish beauty? Far from it, says acclaimed scientist Richard Dawkins; Newton’s unweaving is the key too much of modern astronomy and to the breathtaking poetry of modern cosmology. Mysteries don’t lose their poetry because they are solved: the solution often is more beautiful than the puzzle, uncovering deeper mysteries. With the wit, insight, and spellbinding prose that have made him a bestselling author, Dawkins takes up the most important and compelling topics in modern science, from astronomy and genetics to language and virtual reality, combining them in a landmark statement of the human appetite for wonder. This is the book Richard Dawkins was meant to write: a brilliant assessment of what science is (and isn’t), a tribute to science not because it is useful but because it is uplifting. “A love letter to science, an attempt to counter the perception that science is cold and devoid of aesthetic sensibility . . . Rich with metaphor, passionate arguments, wry humor, colorful examples, and unexpected connections, Dawkins’ prose can be mesmerizing.” —San Francisco Chronicle “Brilliance and wit.” —The New Yorker

Life's Ratchet

How Molecular Machines Extract Order from Chaos

Author: Peter M. Hoffmann

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465022537

Category: Science

Page: 278

View: 1796

A physicist describes how life emerges from the random motion of atoms through sophisticated cellular machinery and describes the long quest to determine the true nature of life from ancient Greece to the study of modern nanotechnology. 20,000 first printing.

Survival Strategies

Cooperation and Conflict in Animal Societies

Author: Raghavendra Gadagkar

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674005570

Category: Nature

Page: 212

View: 9559

Only in recent years have biologists and ethologists begun to apply careful evolutionary thinking to the study of animal societies--and with spectacular results. This book presents the choicest of these findings, illustrated with both photographs and explanatory diagrams.

The God Delusion

Author: Richard Dawkins

Publisher: Random House

ISBN: 1784161926

Category: Atheism

Page: 496

View: 864

The God Delusion caused a sensation when it was published in 2006. Within weeks it became the most hotly debated topic, with Dawkins himself branded as either saint or sinner for presenting his hard-hitting, impassioned rebuttal of religion of all types. His argument could hardly be more topical. While Europe is becoming increasingly secularized, the rise of religious fundamentalism, whether in the Middle East or Middle America, is dramatically and dangerously dividing opinion around the world. In America, and elsewhere, a vigorous dispute between 'intelligent design' and Darwinism is seriously undermining and restricting the teaching of science. In many countries religious dogma from medieval times still serves to abuse basic human rights such as women's and gay rights. And all from a belief in a God whose existence lacks evidence of any kind. Dawkins attacks God in all his forms. He eviscerates the major arguments for religion and demonstrates the supreme improbability of a supreme being. He shows how religion fuels war, foments bigotry and abuses children. The God Delusion is a brilliantly argued, fascinating polemic that will be required reading for anyone interested in this most emotional and important subject.

Deadly Companions

How Microbes Shaped our History

Author: Dorothy H. Crawford

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0192552988

Category: Science

Page: 288

View: 5711

Ever since we started huddling together in communities, the story of human history has been inextricably entwined with the story of microbes. They have evolved and spread amongst us, shaping our culture through infection, disease, and pandemic. At the same time, our changing human culture has itself influenced the evolutionary path of microbes. Dorothy H. Crawford here shows that one cannot be truly understood without the other. Beginning with a dramatic account of the SARS pandemic at the start of the 21st century, she takes us back in time to follow the interlinked history of microbes and man, taking an up-to-date look at ancient plagues and epidemics, and identifying key changes in the way humans have lived - such as our move from hunter-gatherer to farmer to city-dweller — which made us vulnerable to microbe attack. Showing how we live our lives today — with increasing crowding and air travel — puts us once again at risk, Crawford asks whether we might ever conquer microbes completely, or whether we need to take a more microbe-centric view of the world. Among the possible answers, one thing becomes clear: that for generations to come, our deadly companions will continue to shape human history. Oxford Landmark Science books are 'must-read' classics of modern science writing which have crystallized big ideas, and shaped the way we think.

The Selfish Gene

Author: Richard Dawkins

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198788606

Category: Science

Page: 496

View: 4366

With a new epilogue to the 40th anniversary edition.

Hierarchy in the Forest

The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior

Author: Christopher BOEHM,Christopher Boehm

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674028449

Category: Science

Page: 304

View: 1681

Are humans by nature hierarchical or egalitarian? Hierarchy in the Forest addresses this question by examining the evolutionary origins of social and political behavior. Christopher Boehm, an anthropologist whose fieldwork has focused on the political arrangements of human and nonhuman primate groups, postulates that egalitarianism is in effect a hierarchy in which the weak combine forces to dominate the strong. The political flexibility of our species is formidable: we can be quite egalitarian, we can be quite despotic. Hierarchy in the Forest traces the roots of these contradictory traits in chimpanzee, bonobo, gorilla, and early human societies. Boehm looks at the loose group structures of hunter-gatherers, then at tribal segmentation, and finally at present-day governments to see how these conflicting tendencies are reflected. Hierarchy in the Forest claims new territory for biological anthropology and evolutionary biology by extending the domain of these sciences into a crucial aspect of human political and social behavior. This book will be a key document in the study of the evolutionary basis of genuine altruism. Table of Contents: The Question of Egalitarian Society Hierarchy and Equality Putting Down Aggressors Equality and Its Causes A Wider View of Egalitarianism The Hominoid Political Spectrum Ancestral Politics The Evolution of Egalitarian Society Paleolithic Politics and Natural Selection Ambivalence and Compromise in Human Nature References Index Reviews of this book: This well-written book, geared toward an audience with background in the behavioral and evolutionary sciences but accessible to a broad readership, raises two general questions: 'What is an egalitarian society?' and 'How have these societies evolved?'...[Christopher Boehm] takes the reader on a journey from the Arctic to the Americas, from Australia to Africa, in search of hunter-gatherer and tribal societies that emanate the egalitarian ethos--one that promotes generosity, altruism and sharing but forbids upstartism, aggression and egoism. Throughout this journey, Boehm tantalizes the reader with vivid anthropological accounts of ridicule, criticism, ostracism and even execution--prevalent tactics used by subordinates in egalitarian societies to level the social playing field...Hierarchy in the Forest is an interesting and thought-provoking book that is surely an important contribution to perspectives on human sociality and politics. --Ryan Earley, American Scientist Reviews of this book: Combing an exhaustive ethnographic survey of human societies from groups of hunter-gatherers to contemporary residents of the Balkans with a detailed analysis of the behavioral attributes of non-human primates (chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos), Boehm focuses on whether humans are hierarchical or egalitarian by nature...[Boehm's hypotheses] are invariably intriguing and well documented...He raises topics of wide interest and his book should get attention. --Publishers Weekly Boehm has been the first to look at egalitarianism with a cold, unromantic eye. He sees it as a victory over hierarchical tendencies, which are equally marked in our species. I would predict that his insightful examination will reverberate within anthropology and the social sciences as well as among biologists interested in the evolution of social systems. --Frans de Waal, Emory University Hierarchy in the Forest is an original and stimulating contribution to thinking about the origins of egalitarianism. I personally find Boehm's ideas convincing, but whether one agrees with him or not, he has formulated his hypotheses in such a way that this book is likely to set the terms of the discussion for the forseeable future. --Barbara Smuts, University of Michigan The most unique and interesting feature of this clear, well written book is the way Boehm links the study of nonhuman primates (particularly chimpanzees) to traditional concepts of political anthropology. As a political scientist, I was intrigued by Boehm's suggestion that democracy, both ancient and modern, could be understood as the expression of the same natural dispositions that support the egalitarianism of nomadic bands and sedentary tribes. I expect that many scholars in biology, anthropology, and the social sciences would learn from this stimulating book. Even those who disagree with Boehm's arguments are likely to be provoked in instructive ways. --Larry Arnhart, Northern Illinois University Chris Boehm boldly and cogently attacks a whole orthodoxy in anthropology which sees hunter-gatherer 'egalitarianism' as somehow the basic form of human society. No praise can be too high for Boehm's brilliant and courageous book. --Robin Fox, Rutgers University

The Quantum Story

A history in 40 moments

Author: Jim Baggott

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191604291

Category: Science

Page: 496

View: 1965

The twentieth century was defined by physics. From the minds of the world's leading physicists there flowed a river of ideas that would transport mankind to the pinnacle of wonderment and to the very depths of human despair. This was a century that began with the certainties of absolute knowledge and ended with the knowledge of absolute uncertainty. It was a century in which physicists developed weapons with the capacity to destroy our reality, whilst at the same time denying us the possibility that we can ever properly comprehend it. Almost everything we think we know about the nature of our world comes from one theory of physics. This theory was discovered and refined in the first thirty years of the twentieth century and went on to become quite simply the most successful theory of physics ever devised. Its concepts underpin much of the twenty-first century technology that we have learned to take for granted. But its success has come at a price, for it has at the same time completely undermined our ability to make sense of the world at the level of its most fundamental constituents. Rejecting the fundamental elements of uncertainty and chance implied by quantum theory, Albert Einstein once famously declared that 'God does not play dice'. Niels Bohr claimed that anybody who is not shocked by the theory has not understood it. The charismatic American physicist Richard Feynman went further: he claimed that nobody understands it. This is quantum theory, and this book tells its story. Jim Baggott presents a celebration of this wonderful yet wholly disconcerting theory, with a history told in forty episodes — significant moments of truth or turning points in the theory's development. From its birth in the porcelain furnaces used to study black body radiation in 1900, to the promise of stimulating new quantum phenomena to be revealed by CERN's Large Hadron Collider over a hundred years later, this is the extraordinary story of the quantum world. Oxford Landmark Science books are 'must-read' classics of modern science writing which have crystallized big ideas, and shaped the way we think.

Oxygen

The Molecule that Made the World

Author: Nick Lane

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 9780198607830

Category: Science

Page: 374

View: 937

Oxygen takes the reader on an enthralling journey, as gripping as a thriller, as it unravels the unexpected ways in which oxygen spurred the evolution of life and death. The book explains far more than the size of ancient insects: it shows how oxygen underpins the origin of biological complexity, the birth of photosynthesis, the sudden evolution of animals, the need for two sexes, the accelerated ageing of cloned animals like Dolly the sheep, and the surprisingly long lives of bats and birds. Drawing on this grand evolutionary canvas, Oxygen offers fresh perspectives on our own lives and deaths, explaining modern killer diseases, why we age, and what we can do about it.

The Music of Life

Biology beyond genes

Author: Denis Noble

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 9780191578809

Category: Science

Page: 176

View: 1888

What is Life? Decades of research have resulted in the full mapping of the human genome - three billion pairs of code whose functions are only now being understood. The gene's eye view of life, advocated by evolutionary biology, sees living bodies as mere vehicles for the replication of the genetic codes. But for a physiologist, working with the living organism, the view is a very different one. Denis Noble is a world renowned physiologist, and sets out an alternative view to the question - one that becomes deeply significant in terms of the living, breathing organism. The genome is not life itself. Noble argues that far from genes building organisms, they should be seen as prisoners of the organism. The view of life presented in this little, modern, post-genome project reflection on the nature of life, is that of the systems biologist: to understand what life is, we must view it at a variety of different levels, all interacting with each other in a complex web. It is that emergent web, full of feedback between levels, from the gene to the wider environment, that is life. It is a kind of music. Including stories from Noble's own research experience, his work on the heartbeat, musical metaphors, and elements of linguistics and Chinese culture, this very personal and at times deeply lyrical book sets out the systems biology view of life.

The Deeper Genome

Why There Is More to the Human Genome Than Meets the Eye

Author: John Parrington

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198813090

Category: Human genome

Page: 400

View: 9411

Over a decade ago, as the Human Genome Project completed its mapping of the entire human genome, hopes ran high that we would rapidly be able to use our knowledge of human genes to tackle many inherited diseases, and understand what makes us unique among animals. But things didn't turn out that way. For a start, we turned out to have far fewer genes than originally thought -- just over 20,000, the same sort of number as a fruit fly or worm. What's more, the proportion of DNA consisting of genes coding for proteins was a mere 2%. So, was the rest of the genome accumulated 'junk'? Things have changed since those early heady days of the Human Genome Project. But the emerging picture is if anything far more exciting. In this book, John Parrington explains the key features that are coming to light - some, such as the results of the international ENCODE programme, still much debated and controversial in their scope. He gives an outline of the deeper genome, involving layers of regulatory elements controlling and coordinating the switching on and off of genes; the impact of its 3D geometry; the discovery of a variety of new RNAs playing critical roles; the epigenetic changes influenced by the environment and life experiences that can make identical twins different and be passed on to the next generation; and the clues coming out of comparisons with the genomes of Neanderthals as well as that of chimps about the development of our species. We are learning more about ourselves, and about the genetic aspects of many diseases. But in its complexity, flexibility, and ability to respond to environmental cues, the human genome is proving to be far more subtle than we ever imagined.

Assembling the Tree of Life

Author: Joel Cracraft,Michael J. Donoghue

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199729609

Category: Science

Page: 592

View: 1368

This edited volume is provides an authoritative synthesis of knowledge about the history of life. All the major groups of organisms are treated, by the leading workers in their fields. With sections on: The Importance of Knowing the Tree of Life; The Origin and Radiation of Life on Earth; The Relationships of Green Plants; The Relationships of Fungi; and The Relationships of Animals. This book should prove indispensable for evolutionary biologists, taxonomists, ecologists interested in biodiversity, and as a baseline sourcebook for organismic biologists, botanists, and microbiologists. An essential reference in this fundamental area.

The Nurture Assumption

Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do, Revised and Updated

Author: Judith Rich Harris

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1439101655

Category: Family & Relationships

Page: 448

View: 7300

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK How much credit do parents deserve when their children turn out welt? How much blame when they turn out badly? Judith Rich Harris has a message that will change parents' lives: The "nurture assumption" -- the belief that what makes children turn out the way they do, aside from their genes, is the way their parents bring them up -- is nothing more than a cultural myth. This electrifying book explodes some of our unquestioned beliefs about children and parents and gives us a radically new view of childhood. Harris looks with a fresh eye at the real lives of real children to show that it is what they experience outside the home, in the company of their peers, that matters most, Parents don't socialize children; children socialize children. With eloquence and humor, Judith Harris explains why parents have little power to determine the sort of people their children will become. The Nurture Assumption is an important and entertaining work that brings together insights from psychology, sociology, anthropology, primatology, and evolutionary biology to offer a startling new view of who we are and how we got that way.