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Biogenesis: Theories of Life's Origin

By: Noam Lahav

349 pages, Illus, figs

Oxford University Press USA

Paperback | Mar 1999 | #83444 | ISBN: 0195117557
Availability: Usually dispatched within 2-3 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £25.49 $33/€29 approx
Hardback | Dec 1999 | #83443 | ISBN: 0195117549
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About this book

Biogenesis is a detailed, critical discussion of the modern scientific study of the origin of life, its history and biological, geological, and cosmological background, the rationale of its main assumptions and experimental strategies, and its plethora of theories, models, scenarios and controversies.

"Before we can even address the origin of life, there looms the question of what life is anyway. In Biogenesis, Lahav quotes definitions of life culled from the scientific literature from 1855 to 1997. We see the special concerns of each, from Spenser's emphasis on evolution, to Schrodinger's on the law of physics, to Kauffman's on complexity theory. In pursuit of answers, scientists are using every technique from laboratory experiments to deep sea exploration to computer simulations. The most complete account of every approach and each important concept, theory, and experiment is found in this book. It is an invaluable resource for all serious students of origin-of-life research. Although much of this book is very technical, it is written in a highly accessible style. It is an outstanding contribution to the field." - Lucy Horwitz, Boston Book Review, March 2000


Preface; Prologue. On Universes, Elements, Planets, and Life; Part I. History of the Search into the Origin of Life: On the Shoulders of So Many; Ch. 1. From Myths to Logos to Stagnation; Ch. 2. Experimental Biology of the 17th Century; Ch. 3. Systematic Biology, Doubts and Uncertainties: The 18th Century; Ch. 4. Demise and Resurrection of the Spontaneous Generation School: Pasteur and Darwin; Ch. 5. The Modern Era: Spontaneous Generation at the Molecular Level; Part II. Central Features of Life as We Know it in Our Phylogenetic Tree; Ch. 6. A General Morphological-functional Characterization of the Cell; Ch. 7. General Chemical, Biochemical, and Molecular-biological Characterization; Ch. 8. General Thermodynamic Considerations; Ch. 9. Central Biochemical Molecules and Processes; Ch. 10. Biological Conservation and Continuity and the Phylogenetic Tree; Ch. 11. Biological Life: A Multitude of Points of View; Part III; Ch. 12. Our Universe, Galaxy, and Solar System; Ch. 13. Planet Earth; Part IV. Beyond the Progenote: Rationale, Strategies, Scenarios, and Models in the Search of the Origin of Life; Ch. 14. Basic Assumptions and Strategies; Ch. 15. Clues and Speculations by Back-extrapolation from Cosmology and Geology; Ch. 16. Clues from Biology: Evolution, Conservatism, Continuity, and Their Implications; Ch. 17. Top-down Reconstruction of Processes and Early Evolutionary Stages Without Specific Geochemical Consideration; Ch. 18. Bottom-up Reconstruction Without Specific Biogeochemical Conditions; Ch. 19. Bottom-up Biogeochemical Reconstruction: Starting from Organic Scratch in the Absence of Minerals; Ch. 20. Bottom-up Biogeochemical Reconstruction: Minerals Functioning as Scaffolds, Adsorbents, Catalysts, and Information Carriers; Ch. 21. Bottom-up Biogeochemical Reconstructions: Mineral Involvement in Energy Production and Transfer; Ch. 22. Possible Sies for Molecular Evolution Scenarios and Their Rhythms; Ch. 23. Computer Modeling of Biogeochemical Scenarios; Epilogue

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