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Darwinian Detectives: Revealing the Natural History of Genes and Genomes

Popular Science

By: Norman A Johnson

220 pages, b&w illus

Oxford University Press USA

Hardback | Sep 2007 | #165714 | ISBN-13: 9780195306750
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £24.99 $32/€28 approx

About this book

Biology is often viewed today as a bipartisan field, with molecular level genetics guiding us into the future and natural history (including ecology, evolution, and conservation biology,) chaining us to a descriptive scientific past. In "Darwinian Detectives", Norman Johnson bridges this divide, revealing how the tried and true tools of natural history make sense of the newest genomic discoveries.

Molecular scientists exploring newly sequenced genomes have stumbled upon quite a few surprises, including that only one to ten percent of the genetic material of animals actually codes for genes. What does the remaining 90-99 per cent of the genome do? Why do some organisms have a much lower genome size than their close relatives? What were the genetic changes that were associated with us becoming human? As molecular biologists uncover these and other new mysteries, evolutionary geneticists are searching for answers to such questions. Norman Johnson captures the excitement of the hunt for our own genetic history. Through lively anecdotes, he explores how researchers detect natural selection acting on genes and what this genetic information tells us about human origins.

The book will provide useful information for people who want to know what molecular evolutionists are currently doing


1. The Baby with the Baboon Heart: Why Evolution Still Matter; 2. Why Intelligent Design Is Not Science; Interlude 1: Natural Selection; 3. Negative Selection and the Neutral Theory of Molecular Evolution; 4. Detecting Positive Selection; 5. Balancing Selection and Disease; Interlude 2: Human Origins and Evolution; 6. Finding Our Roots: Did "Eve" Know "Adam"?; 7. Who were the Neanderthals?; 8. Are We the Third Chimpanzee?; 9. What are the Genetic Differences that Made Us Human?; 10. Clicks, Genes, and Languages; 11. Who Let the Dogs in? The Domestication of Animals and Plants; 12. Size Matters: Toward Understanding the Natural History of Genomes

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