305 pages, no illustrations
Re-examines the theory of evolution and reveals Darwin's admission that his conclusions did not explain everything. Ryan suggests that Darwin overlooked the importance of living interactions, whether through symbiosis or cooperation between species. He reveals that large leaps in evolution have occurred from the combining of life forms. A selection of examples are provided to establish Ryan's broader thinking on evolution, from the union with bacteria that still powers living cells, to the flowering plants that depend on bees, butterflies and hummingbirds for reproduction; and, most startling of all, the retroviruses that live in human chromosomes and emerge to play thair part in everyday pregnancy. In a book full of scientific insight, the Genome of Life is revealed as lying at the heart of all evolutionary change.
"Ryan has built an exciting story of heroic outsiders and fierce conflict over the nature of evolutionary innovation. Anecdotes fascinate, personalities excite."
"The widespread acceptance of Darwin's one-sided account of evolution is a cultural anomaly that Ryan's book sets out to correct through detailed evidence [...] woven into a fascinating and historically detailed account."
– Brian Goodwin, Professor of Biology, The Open University
"I immensely enjoyed reading Darwin's Blind Spot. I don't think I have read a more coherent accounting of the role of symbiosis on evolution ever and Ryan's broad definition of the concept (including aggressive symbiosis) goes far to eliminate confusion."
– Luis Villarreal, Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of California, Irvine
"I was thrilled and enchanted on picking up Darwin's Blind Spot. I continually itched to get to the next page. Ryan elegantly presents the concept [of symbiosis in evolution], one that should be stressed in every school biology text book, giving both direction and synthesis to the modern perspective on evolutionary theory. Just plain wonderful."
– Douglas E. Eveleigh, Professor of Microbiology, Rutgers University
"Ryan focuses on a biological mechanism Darwin and others might have underestimated: symbiosis. Part I reviews the history of evolutionary theory. Even informed readers will find new material in this discussion. Perhaps more daring, though, is Part 2. The author synthesises a large volume of current thought, mixes it with his own ideas, and proposes novel theories. His assertions merit serious attention."
– Gregg Sapp, Library Journal, Science Library
"It takes the broad mind and practical experience of a physician to understand the consequences of evolutionary biology. Dr Ryan's most readable book is a welcome escape from many misinterpretations of Darwinism."
– James Lovelock, FRS, CBE, author of Gaia
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Frank Ryan is a consultant physician and scientist. He graduated with honours in medicine at Sheffield University in 1970, after being awarded many prizes including the Herbert Price Memorial Prize for research into our immune response to viruses. He has written two acclaimed books, Virus X and Tuberculosis: The Greatest Story Never Told, the latter judged a New York Times Non-fiction Book of the Year. His writing has been the subject of many television documentaries in Britain and America, including programmes by World-in-Action and Horizon.