9780521429641

Modular Evolution: How Natural Selection Produces Biological Complexity

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780521429641

  • ISBN10:

    0521429641

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-08-23
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Summary

Natural selection is more than the survival of the fittest: it is a force engendering higher biological complexity. Presenting a new explanation for the tendency of life to become more complex through evolution, this book offers an introduction to the key debates in evolutionary theory, including the role of genes and sex in evolution, the adaptive reasons for senescence and death and the origin of neural information. The author argues that biological complexity increased through the process of 'modularity transfer': modular phenotypes (proteins, somatic cells, learned behaviours) evolved into new modular information carriers (regulatory proteins, neural cells, words), giving rise to new information systems and higher levels of biological organisation. Modular Evolution makes sense of the unique place of humans in evolution, both as the pinnacle of biological complexity and inventors of non-biological evolution.

Table of Contents

Preface
From natural selection to the history of nature
From the units of inheritance to the origin of species
Multicellularity and the developmental code
Life cycle evolution: life and death of the soma
Sex and its consequences: the transition that never happened
Animal societies: the case of incomplete evolutionary transitions
The new 'Chain of Being': hierarchical evolution and biological complexity
References
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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