Tangled Tree : A Radical New History of Life

Tangled Tree : A Radical New History of Life

Description

Nonpareil science writer David Quammen explains how recent discoveries in molecular biology can change our understanding of evolution and life's history, with powerful implications for human health and even our own human nature.

In the mid-1970s, scientists began using DNA sequences to reexamine the history of all life. Perhaps the most startling discovery to come out of this new field-the study of life's diversity and relatedness at the molecular level-is horizontal gene transfer (HGT), or the movement of genes across species lines. It turns out that HGT has been widespread and important. For instance, we now know that roughly eight percent of the human genome arrived not through traditional inheritance from directly ancestral forms, but sideways by viral infection-a type of HGT.

In The Tangled Tree David Quammen, "one of that rare breed of science journalists who blends exploration with a talent for synthesis and storytelling" (Nature), chronicles these discoveries through the lives of the researchers who made them-such as Carl Woese, the most important little-known biologist of the twentieth century; Lynn Margulis, the notorious maverick whose wild ideas about "mosaic" creatures proved to be true; and Tsutomu Wantanabe, who discovered that the scourge of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a direct result of horizontal gene transfer, bringing the deep study of genome histories to bear on a global crisis in public health.

"Quammen is no ordinary writer. He is simply astonishing, one of that rare class of writer gifted with verve, ingenuity, humor, guts, and great heart" (Elle). Now, in The Tangled Tree, he explains how molecular studies of evolution have brought startling recognitions about the tangled tree of life-including where we humans fit upon it. Thanks to new technologies such as CRISPR, we now have the ability to alter even our genetic composition-through sideways insertions, as nature has long been doing. The Tangled Tree is a brilliant guide to our transformed understanding of evolution, of life's history, and of our own human nature.

Similar Books

ISBN 10: 0393346617
ISBN 13: 9780393346619

01 Sep 2018
David Quammen

ISBN 10: 0684827123
ISBN 13: 9780684827124

28 Apr 1997
D. Quammen

ISBN 10: 0062368605
ISBN 13: 9780062368607

16 Jan 2018
Ed Yong

ISBN 10: 0393351556
ISBN 13: 9780393351552

24 Oct 2014
David Quammen

ISBN 10: 0062316117
ISBN 13: 9780062316110

11 Jul 2018
Yuval Noah Harari

ISBN 10: 0393343405
ISBN 13: 9780393343403

01 Sep 2018
Stephen Greenblatt

ISBN 10: 067973337X
ISBN 13: 9780679733379

01 Aug 2000
Jonathan Weiner

ISBN 10: 1250098963
ISBN 13: 9781250098962

12 Jun 2018
Alan Stern

ISBN 10: 0684836262
ISBN 13: 9780684836263

07 Jul 1998
David Quammen

ISBN 10: 1781250375
ISBN 13: 9781781250372

07 Apr 2016
Nick Lane

ISBN 10: 0300162340
ISBN 13: 9780300162349

04 Oct 2019
Edward L. Greenstein

ISBN 10: 0143112449
ISBN 13: 9780143112440

01 Nov 2007
David Nasaw