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Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of EvoDevo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom

Popular Science

By: Sean B Carroll(Author)

288 pages, 16 colour & 100 b/w photos

Quercus Publishing

Paperback | Jan 2011 | #187678 | ISBN-13: 9781849160483
Availability: In stock
NHBS Price: £9.99 $13/€11 approx
Paperback | Jan 2007 | #162310 | ISBN-13: 9780753821824
Out of Print Details
Hardback | Dec 2006 | #155295 | ISBN: 0297850946
Out of Print Details

About this book

What Brian Greene did for string theory, Sean Carroll does for Evo Devo.

Evo Devo is evolutionary developmental biology, the third revolution in evolutionary biology. The first was marked by the publication of On the Origin of Species; the second occurred in the early twentieth century, when Darwin's theories were merged with the study of genetics. Now the insights of Evo Devo are showing how the endless forms of animals – from butterflies and zebras, trilobites and dinosaurs, apes and humans, are made and evolved.

Perhaps the most surprising finding of Evo Devo is the discovery that a small number of primitive genes led to the formation of fundamental organs and appendages in all animal forms. The gene that causes humans to form arms and legs is the same gene that causes birds and insects to form wings, and fish to form fins; similarly, one ancient gene has led to the evolution of eyes across the animal kingdom. Changes in the way this ancient tool kit of genes is used have created all the diversity that surrounds us.

"Once in a while, though, a book comes along that not only transports the layman to the cutting edge of science, but helps transform the intellectual or cultural landscape [...] Sean Carroll's Endless Forms Most Beautiful [...] deserves to [...] EvoDevo is a complex and highly technical subject but Carroll manages magnificently to translate the debates into a lay language without patronising the reader. Endless Forms Most Beautiful provides an essential glimpse into both the creation of lifeand the excitement of scientific discovery."
– Kenan Malik, Sunday Telegraph

"Carroll does something superb – something very few other popular science writers try to do. Instead of trying to merely recreate the excitement of teh scientist hot on the trail of something new, Carroll actually explains the source of the excitement to the reader [...] a book for those with a natural scientific curiosity. never before has such an evolutionary synthesis had such an explanatory power."
Morning Star

"in attempting to make Evo Devo accessible to a wider readership [...] Carroll does it splendidly."
– Steven Rose, The Guardian


- Preface: Revolution No.3. Introduction: Butterflies, Zebras, and Embryos. The Making of Animals: Animal Architecture - Modern Forms, Ancient Designs
- Monsters, Mutants, and Master Genes
- From E. coli to Elephants
- Making Babies - 25,000 Genes, Some Assembly Required
- The Dark Matter of the Genome - Operating Instructions for the Tool Kit. Fossils, Genes, and the Making of Animal Diversity: The Big Bang of Animal Evolution
- Little Bangs - Wings and Other Revolutionary Inventions
- How the Butterfly Got Its Spots
- Paint It Black
- A Beautiful Mind - The Making of Homo sapiens
- Endless Forms Most Beautiful

Sources and Further Reading

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Sean B. Carroll is an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and professor of genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He lives in Madison.

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