Nonpareil science writer David Quammen explains how recent discoveries in molecular biology can change our understanding of evolution and lifes 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 fieldthe study of lifes diversity and relatedness at the molecular levelis 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 infectiona 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 ...
|Title||:||The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life|
|Number of Pages||:||480 pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life Reviews
I am not a scientist, biologist, or physicist. I am a casual reader of multiple topics.
I try to randomly select books by perusing multiple sites and briefly reviewing the content or theme of a book. I try not to have a preconceived notion of how I will receive the book.
I found this particularly expansive and thoroughly researched book to be amazing. With each passing page, new insights into sciences journey regarding the origins of life and the unexpected dynamics of cellular growth and duplicat ...more
Would have given higher rating but this was a very tedious book to read though it was informative. Too many details about other scientists and it can be challenging to read content wise.
It’s ok but I wish it had more technical details.
The people stories are ok but less valuable than the science
This book reviews the ideas of the Tree of Life from it's origin with early thinkers, primarily Darwin, through the understanding that the Bacteria and Archaea form separate domains.
The book also has a number of secondary themes. The life of Carl Woese, who was largely responsible for the discovery of the Archaea as a distinct domain, is covered in detail (and notably in the concluding chapters).
The discovery of horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT) is a major theme in the second half of the book. HG ...more
"Science itself, however precise and objective, is a human activity. It's a way of wondering as well as a way of knowing. It's a process, not a body of facts or laws. Like music, like poetry, like baseball, like grandmaster chess, it's something gloriously imperfect that people do. The smudgy fingerprints of our humanness are all over it." - David Quammen in The Tangled Tree
In The Tangled Tree, popular science writer David Quammen gives us the history of a field of study called "molecular phylog ...more
This is a book at war with itself, trying to be many things at the same time. It is a well-written examination of evolution, the inadequacy of the standard tree metaphor for it, and the messiness of gene transfer. Quammen explores horizontal gene transfer and the uncertainty in what a species actually is, what an individual is (with all the little cells that live in us but don't share DNA). This is timely and fascinating stuff.
It is also a biography of, and tribute to, Carl Woese. I hadn't known ...more
I feel so disappointed. It was like being a kid and getting a half eaten chocolate Santa on Christmas as your only gift. This seems like a book half written. When I got the the end, I just sat there in completely disbelief. Some parts of this book are exceptional. For example, this is an incredibly detailed and informative history of how scientists and the public came to understand the tree of life, how our understanding changed to see it as a web, and finally, merely a starting point with no sh ...more
A large part of the book was about Carl Woese, a character who was odd, but about whom I really could not care. He used early, difficult sequencing techniques to identify the Archaea, an entirely separate form of life, different from bacteria, plants, and animals. But since this was already old news when I had Bio 101 in 1990-91, I already knew about the Archaea, and the details of its discovery and identification just weren't that riveting the way they're presented here.
More interesting -- alth ...more