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101. Pcr (Basics: from Background to
$72.00 $35.00
102. Acing the Network+ Certification
$24.90 list($24.95)
103. Astrobiology, the Origin of Life,
$94.95 $61.55
104. Evolution
$8.96 $6.50 list($9.95)
105. The Compleat Strategyst: Being
$89.95 $83.89
106. Molecular Biotechnology: Principles
$159.95 $152.84
107. Mobile DNA II
$4.67 list($21.50)
108. Investigations
$105.00 $94.95
109. Genomes
$9.00 list($23.00)
110. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors
$12.24 $4.12 list($18.00)
111. The Chalice and the Blade: Our
$6.75 $4.25 list($7.50)
112. Dragons of Eden
$36.00 $35.17
113. Sense and Nonsense: Evolutionary
$35.00 $29.97
114. The Origin And Evolution Of Cultures
$89.95 $86.35
115. Genetics and Analysis of Quantitative
$85.05 $70.00 list($94.50)
116. Bioinformatics and Functional
$57.95 $57.55
117. Fundamentals of Molecular Evolution
$10.85 $10.60 list($15.95)
118. The Seven Daughters of Eve
$325.00 $324.60
119. Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory
120. Developmental Plasticity and Evolution

101. Pcr (Basics: from Background to Bench)
by M. J. McPherson, S. G. Møller, R. Beynon, C. Howe
list price: $49.95
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Asin: 0387916008
Catlog: Book (2000-10-15)
Publisher: Springer-Verlag Telos
Sales Rank: 499053
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"PCR: the basics" is the ideal practical introduction to PCR practices in the laboratory. By providing basic theory, background material and suggestions for suitable protocols, it enables a novice to become a proficient user of many PCR techniques. Coverage includes: * Experimental aspects * Analyzing and manipulating PCR products * Genome analysis * Gene cloning and manipulation * Gene expression and medical diagnosis "PCR: the basics" is invaluable for undergraduates, graduates, or experienced researchers who are about to undertake PCR for the first time. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars PCR for beginners: A must-have !
This book explains really good all the basics of the PCR.
For the beginning PhD student, or even before, all you need to know and even more is inside. Some applications are more complicated, but the book is never too difficult to understand.
A must-have!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book on PCR
This book is a great practical introduction to PCR. It truly does cover the full spectrum of PCR topics from background to benchtop (real-world) applications. It is very clearly written and easy to understand. I own about 10 books on basic and advanced PCR methods, and this one is by far the best. If you want a clear, concise, comprehensive introduction to PCR, this book is it.

5-0 out of 5 stars PCR is Good
PCR by McPherson and Moeller, is a great great little book that addresses the practical and theoretical aspects of the polymerase chain reaction. The fundamental aspects of PCR, ranging from reagents and instrumentation, to PCR optimization, to the analysis of genomes, are outlined in each of 10 chapters with companion protocols for each application. Each technique is explained with clarity and numerous illustrations greatly aid in the understanding. I tried personally the "SOEing" method to generate a deletion mutants and it worked to perfection. Another great feature of this book is that it explains many of the potential pitfalls associated with PCR technology in a very comprehensive manner, and gives simple solutions to remedy these problems. PCR has been around for some 15 years, and the many applications of this revolutionary technique have often been overlooked due to the sheer number; PCR takes many of these new applications and makes them simple for the reader, and in that it constitutes one of the more comprehensive educational books on the subject. PCR will surely simplify the task of students and veteran molecular biologists alike, and for these reasons I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Attention All Molecular Biologists
This book is ideal for both students and experienced researchers. In addition to covering the basic and theoretical aspects of PCR, the book also describes cutting-edge PCR methods and applications. It's nice to have such a comprehensive, up-to-date book on PCR. The clarity of the text made for enjoyable reading. This is a must for students and any molecular biology laboratory. Happy Reading! ... Read more

102. Acing the Network+ Certification Exam
by Patrick Regan
list price: $72.00
our price: $72.00
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Asin: 0131121685
Catlog: Book (2004-06-16)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Sales Rank: 1273282
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Book Description

An introduction to local area networks, this book is intended to prepare the reader to take and pass the CompTIA's Network+ exam.Covers what a network is; the OSI model; how to build a network; major protocol suites, including TCP/IP and IPX; the most common network operating systems (Microsoft Windows, Linux, Novell NetWare); and the common network services (including DHCP server, DNS server, email, web server, and file sharing). This book also details the entire TCP/IP protocol suite, including looking at a TCP/IP packet, IP addressing, subnetting, and CIDR/VLSM of the TCP/IP.For anyone working towards Network + (Net+) Certification. ... Read more

103. Astrobiology, the Origin of Life, and the Death of Darwinism (2nd Edition)
by Rhawn Joseph
list price: $24.95
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Asin: 0970073380
Catlog: Book (2001-05)
Publisher: University Press California
Sales Rank: 632919
Average Customer Review: 3.32 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Origin of Life: The Earth is an island, swirling in an ocean of space, and life has been washing ashore since the creation.

Cosmic collisions are commonplace, not only between meteors and planets, but entire galaxies, and life has been repeatedly tossed into the abyss... only to land on other planets.

The genetic seeds of life swarm throughout the cosmos, and these "genetic seeds," these living creatures, fell to Earth encased in stellar debris which pounded the planet for 700 million years after the creation. And these "seeds" contained the DNA instructions for the metamorphosis of all life, including woman and man.

DNA acts to purposefully modify the environment, which acts on gene selection, to fulfill specific genetic goals: the dispersal and activation of silent DNA, and the replication of life forms that long ago lived on other planets. ... Read more

Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, Intriguing, Important
A unique, fascinating, intriguing discussion of the genetics of evolution and the origin of life on earth.This book is cutting edge, up-to-date, ahead of its time, heavily referenced with hundreds of scientific citations including detailed discussions of findings from the Human Genome Project. It is science at its best. Joseph definitely thinks "outside the box." He frees us from the chains of conventional wisdom which piously proclaim that life emerged from an organic soup, and that it evolved randomly, or that the Universe began with a "big bang;" that is, at first there was nothing and then a big explosion, what the author calls: "The Nothing Happened Theory of Creation." In the first several chapters, the author explains the astrobiology, genetics and origins of life, and in the second half of the book, the genetics of evolution. The author makes it convincingly clear that since a single cell and its DNA is so amazingly complex, it could not been manufactured in an organic soup on earth, particularly as all the necessary ingredients did not exist on this planet at the time life first appeared, which was following a 700 million year bombardment from outerspace. Complex life, and its DNA must have hitchhiked to this planet. Joseph points out that the "seeds of life" hypothesis was first proposed thousands of years ago. Joseph, however, turns a hypothesis into a viable theory founded on DNA and the most recent research on genetics. Life and its DNA must have first originated on other planets. Joseph then astonishes the mind by pointing out that since even the DNA of microbes contains human DNA (verified by findings from the Human Genome Project) the first microbes on earth may have also contained human DNA, and the genetic instructions for the creation of all life, including humans. Joseph calls this theory, "Evolutionary Metamorphosis," and then explains, and provides convincing evidence from genetics and the fossil record that does not just support his theory, but which refutes Darwin's theory. Thinking outside the box, Joseph takes the theory of evolution and revolutionizes it. He explains that DNA acts on the environment, which acts on gene selection, to activate silent intronic genes which contain the genetic codes for the metamorphosis of all life. After life arrived on this planet, its DNA began to genetically engineer the envionment, changing the environment, e.g., releasing oxygen, calcium, and so on, all of which acted on gene selection to activate silent genes thereby giving rise to not just variable creatures, but more advanced forms of life, which in turn acted on the environment. Evolution is therefore under genetic control, which explains why the emergence of increasingly complex and intelligent species has followed a predictable linear progression. There is nothing random about genetic expression or evolution. This theory, evolutionary metamorphosis, is truly revolutionary, and clearly, it is well ahead of its time; and because it is ahead of its time, and because it is revolutionary and overturns conventional wisdom, most people, including most scientists, are going to resist these idea and the facts, clinging instead to the myths they have grown accustomed to. This is an intelligent, astonishing book. The author is also a world renowned neuroscientist and evolutionary neurobiologist, and probably stands alone as one of the few "experts" with a genuine understanding of the biology, genetics, and environmental foundations of life and evolution.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Work of Revolutionary Genius
OK,I'm biased. I am familiar with this author's previous work; he pioneered research in neuroplasticity back in the 1970s, was the first to demonstrate neuroplasticity and recovery of function in the primate brain (again back in the 1970s), and pioneered research on the sexual differentiation of the brain (again, back in the 1970s); repeatedly making discoveries that repeatedly overturned established scientific dogma. I have also read and reread his classic neuroscience text. So, I'm biased. But this is truly a fantastic, ground breaking book--which is exactly what you would expect of a man with his background. It is also more than that. It is revolutionary. Joseph details the prevailing theories as to the origin and evolution of life, explains their strengths and weaknesses, and then presents well researched viable alternatives to the mainstream view. What is the origin of life? He tells us: The earth is an island and life has washed ashore. The universe is probably crawling with life. How did life evolve? He tells us: In a predictable,step-wise molecular clock-like fashion and in accordance with the genetic engineering of the environment, and presents the genetic and astrobiological evidence to support his conclusions. This book differs from all others on this topic in that the author is actually a pioneering evolutionary and developmental neurobiologist, he presents the only viable alternative to the mainstream scientific view (instead of simply echoing that view as is standard practice in all other books on the topic), and, more importantly, I would guess that in about 10 years most scientists will not only completely embrace Dr. Joseph's conclusions, but they will wonder how anyone could have ever thought otherwise. Read this book and you too will be years ahead of your time. Read this book, and feel enlightened. Read this book and you will feel like a genius.

2-0 out of 5 stars not even science fiction; pseudo-science
The theories presented in this book are not only baseless and poorly presented, but also a tragic step in the wrong direction for the infant science of Astrobiology. The author should clearly have stuck to neuro-science, because his lack of understanding in the fields of biology, Archaeology and espescially Astronomy are overwhelming and frustrating throughout the book. I say this book is a step in the wrong direction because it might mislead people seeking to gain real knowledge about the subject into false and ridiculous ideas. In addition, Joseph comes off as more biased and defensive than even the Rare Earth scientists do. This book is not a total waste of money as there are many ideas within it that are at least worth debating. Yet, I would not recomend it as an introductory work to the field, rather I would recomend it as food for thought to an educated reader. Joseph must refrain from his one sided arguments, UFO stories, and seemingly emotional outbursts if he wants to be taken seriously by scientists.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dangerous and Revolutionary
A book should never be judged by its cover, but my its contents. A book which generates high praise and hysterical condemnation, is an important book. This is an important book. The importance of this book can also be judged by the reaction of the United States government, and the scientists it funds, including NASA. Since the publication of the first edition of Astrobiology, in May of 2000, there followed an avalanche of competing volumes. Eight additional books on Astrobiology have now been published since 2001. Clearly, Joseph, the author of Astrobiology, led the way, and NASA and government-funded scientists, followed, only to hysterically attack Joseph's text. Joseph had the audacity to detail the incredible flaws in the 3 pillars of modern scientific faith: the big bang, the organic soup, and Darwin's theory. Given the incredible complexity of a single strand of DNA, Joseph argues, the likelihood life orginated in an organic soup, is the equivilant of discovering a computer on Jupiter and then claiming it was randomly assembled in the methane sea. Life, and its DNA, Joseph explains, arrived on Earth contained in cosmic debris. Darwin's theory of random variations, does not explain evolutionary progress and is refuted by modern genetics. Joseph argues and provides considerable evidence, that DNA engineers the environment and its own evolution, and that evolution is not random, but is governed by precise genetic mechanisms. Joseph has dared to attack and topple the altars of the modern scientific establishment, which is why we now see that over 8 additional, nearly identical books have been published all of which preach the same message of faith as approved and supported by the United States government.

1-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but not science
As an evolutionary biologist I was interested to read this book to see if it had any true merits. Now that I have I see that it is a work of wonderful science fiction, not science. It is quite apparent that the author has no formal training in evolutionary biology. Much of the book is interesting and HIGHLY speculative, it provides little evidence for its wild claims. In real science extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence but the author provides no convincing evidence for his claims. Also, even if life did arrive here instead of the accepted method (which DOES have much evidence supporting it) it still does not refute Darwinian evolution. Darwinian evolution is the ONLY mechanisms currently proposed which results in adaptation, the mere idea that individuals come to resemble alien life forms because their DNA is silent and "remembers" these forms is pure fantasy. If this is the case how could there be adaptation on a foreign planet, and for that case how did these little "seeds" come to be created in the first place? I could continue ripping this book apart but I've more important things to do. I am very interested in astrobiology but as a scientist I realize that mere speculation is not science, no matter how enticing the theories may be. Very good read if you're looking for science fiction, but don't bother if you know anything about evolutionary biology. ... Read more

104. Evolution
by Mark Ridley
list price: $94.95
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Asin: 1405103450
Catlog: Book (2003-10-01)
Publisher: Blackwell Publishers
Sales Rank: 261277
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent review of modern evolutionary thought
I saw the 2 star review and decided I could not let it sit without challenge. I have just received my Phd in psychology and masters in statistics, and have decided to attempt to make a career out of behavioral genetics and evolutionary genetics. Mark Ridley's book was an absolute inspiration to me when I first read it, and it continues to be a must-have reference. The book is noteworthy because it explains the major debates in evolutionary thought in a balanced yet readable way. For example, Ridley gives an excellent introduction into the fundamental question about what maintains genetic variation in the face of selection, an issue that is given only cursory attention in other books of this kind.

I first read this as an undergraduate, yet it continues to serve as my fundamental reference to evolutionary biology. This is truly a wonderful introduction to evolution.

2-0 out of 5 stars Technical evolutionary biology
The neo-darwinian evolutionary synthesis has been called a genetic takeover. This book testifies to the truth of this dictum. Genes are of the utmost importance. EVOLUTION is not so much about evolution as teaching theoretical evolutionary biology without much feeling for practical evolutionary research or the natural world. As an introductory textbook, Ridley's book will succeed in making students avoid evolutionary biology, as a subject full of theoretical debates with little biological sense ... Read more

105. The Compleat Strategyst: Being a Primer on the Theory of Games of Strategy
by J.D. Williams
list price: $9.95
our price: $8.96
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Asin: 0486251012
Catlog: Book (1986-05-01)
Publisher: Dover Publications
Sales Rank: 32669
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Highly entertaining text essential for anyone interested in Game Theory. Only basic understanding of arithmetic needed to grasp necessary aspects of two-, three-, four- and larger strategy games with two or more sets of inimical interests and a limitless array of zero-sum payoffs.
... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent, entertaining introductory text
This is a superlative introduction to a mathematical concept which, with a lesser writer, could be tedious to learn. Williams includes many entertaining and enjoyable story problems, replete with attractive illustrations, that make learning the subject a joy. He takes an inherently interesting topic and makes it easy and fun to learn.

I recommend this book unreservedly.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fun Introduction to Game Theory
The Compleat Strategyst by J.D. Williams is a wonderful introduction to the ins and outs of game theory. The pace of the primer I found quite reasonable, and the organization is very natural. The Compleat Strategyst begins with the gist (as it should) regarding game matrices and how to interpret them. Williams's discussion then proceeds through 2 x 2 games, 2 x m games, 3 x 3 games, 3 x m games, and so on. Each section contains clever story problems chosen to both re-enforce basic principles and point to potential pitfalls. Also provided are numerous exercises to build the skills necessary to understand game theory.

One of the most enjoyable facets of The Compleat Strategyst is J.D. Williams's entertaining writing style. He seems to know the kind of people reading his book (non-mathematicians who think they might be able to apply game theory to their own work - in my case anyway), and the text is taylored to that audience. In addition, while making the subject matter of game theory accessible strictly through arithmatic, the author provides fair reminders that a great deal of actual mathmatics is being swept beneath the rug.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I found this book to be an excellent introduction to game theory that doesn't require much mathamatical background beyond simple algebra. It comes complete with theoretical explainations of the game matrix, problems to help sharpen your skills, and strategic stories that fit with a game matrix, to help show how game theory can be applied to real problems. A definite must for anyone who wants to start learning about game theory.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply excellent
It takes a lot of time to work thru the examples in this book. (I use Excel to speed things up). But it's a great book. First read it at around 1970. Still in love with it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Remembered for years
I first read this book when I was in high school, around 1957. I still remember it today, for a clear, coherent, and funny discussion of game theory, and the statistics controlling the optimum strategy. I hope I can raise a copy of it, since it is out of print! ... Read more

106. Molecular Biotechnology: Principles and Applications of Recombinant DNA
by Bernard R. Glick, Jack J. Pasternak
list price: $89.95
our price: $89.95
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Asin: 1555812244
Catlog: Book (2003-03-01)
Publisher: American Society Microbiology
Sales Rank: 222763
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Completely revised and updated, this second edition of the best-selling Molecular Biotechnology covers both the underlying scientific principles and the wide-ranging industrial, agricultural, pharmaceutical, and biomedical applications of recombinant DNA technology.This new edition includes expanded coverage of the types of organisms and cells used in molecular biotechnology, DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis, the methodology and applications of genetic engineering of plants, and microbial production of therapeutic agents.Updated chapters reflect recent developments in biotechnology and the societal issues related to it, such as cloning, gene therapy, and patenting and releasing genetically engineered organisms."Milestones" summarize important research papers in the history of biotechnology and their effects on the field.TABLE OF CONTENTS: Fundamentals of Molecular Biotechnology The Molecular Biotechnology Revolution Molecular Biotechnology Biological Systems DNA, RNA, and Protein Synthesis Recombinant DNA Technology Chemical Synthesis, Sequencing, and Amplification of DNA Manipulation of Gene Expression in Prokaryotes Recombinant Protein Production in Eukaryotic Cells Directed Mutagenesis and Protein Engineering Molecular Biotechnology of Microbial Systems Molecular Diagnostics Microbial Production of Therapeutic Agents Vaccines Synthesis of Commercial Products by Recombinant Microorganisms Bioremediation and Biomass Utilization Plant Growth-Promoting Bacteria Microbial Insecticides Large-Scale Production of Proteins from Recombinant Microorganisms Eukaryotic Systems Genetic Engineering of Plants: Methodology Genetic Engineering of Plants: Applications Transgenic Animals Human Molecular Genetics Human Gene Therapy Regulating and Patenting Molecular Biotechnology Regulating the Use of Biotechnology Patenting Biotechnology Inventions ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good introductory material for the technical
To those who are interested in the functional aspects of the DNA this is the right introductory stuff. It covers areas including basic molecular biology to commercial methods for manipulating the genes. Pretty useful for someone who's more interested in the technology than the biology!

3-0 out of 5 stars Good overview but lacks technical rigor
I am currently using this book for a course in Molecular Biotechnology taught through the chemistry department. Although the book covers a wide range of biotechnology fields, from manipulation of gene expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes through human gene therapy, it does so in a somewhat shallow and repetitive way. I have also seen clearer and more concise diagrams covering similar topics in other biochemistry books, and there is a paucity of in-depth coverage in any particular area. This is not necessarily the authors's fault, however, arising from the plethora of information found in the biotechnology field. If someone wants a broad review of molecular biotechnology, this is a decent book, but if you want to focus on a specific area within biotechnology, look somewhere else. ... Read more

107. Mobile DNA II
list price: $159.95
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Asin: 1555812090
Catlog: Book (2002-04-01)
Publisher: American Society Microbiology
Sales Rank: 572402
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108. Investigations
by Stuart A. Kauffman
list price: $21.50
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Asin: 0195121058
Catlog: Book (2002-07-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 219561
Average Customer Review: 4.05 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the tradition of Schrodinger's classic What Is Life?, this book is a tour-de-force investigation of the basis of life itself, with conclusions that radically undermine the scientific approaches on which modern science rests-the approaches of Newton, Boltzman, Bohr, and Einstein. Kauffman's At Home in the Universe, which The New York Times Book Review called "passionately written" and nature named "courageous," introduced pivotal ideas about order and evolution in complex life systems. In investigations, Kauffman builds on these theories and finds that classical science does not take into account that physical systems--such as people in a biosphere--effect their dynamic environments in addition to being affected by them. These systems act on their own behalf as autonomous agents, but what defines them as such? In other words, what is life? By defining and explaining autonomous agents and work in the contexts of thermodynamics and of information theory, Kauffman supplies a novel answer to this age-old question that goes beyond traditional scientific thinking. Much of Investigations unpacks the progressively surprising implications of his definition. Kauffman lays out a foundation for a new concept of organization, and explores the requirements for the emergence of a general biology that will transcend terrestrial biology to seek laws governing biospheres anywhere in the cosmos. Moreover, he presents four candidate laws to explain how autonomous agents co-create their biosphere and the startling idea of a "co-creating" cosmos. A showcase of Kauffman's most fundamental and significant ideas, Investigations presents a new way of thinking about the basics of general biology that will change the way we understand life itself--on this planet and anywhere else in the cosmos. ... Read more

Reviews (20)

4-0 out of 5 stars A rugged read of a book
I have followed the writings of Stuart Kauffman very closely since his first book 'Origins of Order'. The Santa Fe Institute with which he is associated is a wonderful think-tank of multi-disciplinary, but converging studies. Kauffman's contribution to this group has been huge.

I find that Kauffman's world view is compelling, resonant and deeply fascinating. This book contains the ideas within 'At Home in the Universe' and then extends them into the 'adjacent possible'.

Be prepared when reading this book to be taxed on your knowledge of cell chemistry, mathematics, thermodynamics and evolution. The rapid jumps between disciplines are handy for explaining some rather obtuse ideas, but Kauffman may isolate many readers by diving in to unelaborated detail on the idiosyncracies of these subjects. Even a brief overview of some of the terms used in his metaphors would be a great help to those without PhDs.

Personally, I buy Kauffman's worldview hook, line and sinker which makes any of his writings a must-read for me, but I am convinced that the audience for this book was not carefully considered, and as a result it seems that it is written for himself primarily. It could do with a thorough edit removing the grandiose language.

Stu, I know you can do better.

5-0 out of 5 stars Life in a Complex Universe
"Investigations" marks a new phase in Stuart Kauffman's seminal work on self-organization and complexity. In this fascinating extension of his theoretical approach to the generation of order in the universe, he focusses on the idea of the autonomous agent, which forms the basis for a new and more precise definition of the living organism. The autonomous agent, according to Kauffman, is an organization of matter that extracts works from its environment in order to maintain its structural and functional integrity over time. An autonomous agent is one that does work on its own behalf. Kauffman goes into considerable physical detail to show how this is not only possible but inevitable. Because of the intimate relation between work and self-maintenance in this schema, Kauffman speaks of organisms as exemplifying a fourth law of thermodynamics that allows for increasing organizational complexity in the midst of a universe whose entropy is constantly increasing.

The fourth law explains how the diversity of the biosphere continues to increase through an exploration of "the adjacent possible," the realm of alternative organizations reachable through single mutations. In this view, the proliferation of life forms is not so much the result of chance as it is of a working out of the natural tendency of existing entities to self-organize into structures of greater and greater complexity.

Kauffman's muscular writing in "Investigations" once again demonstrates an exceptional combination of rigorous scientific logic and a poetic vision that encompasses a fertile and abundant universe.

5-0 out of 5 stars Questions which shake science
This is a great book. Not by the suggested answers to the problems related to the notion of Life, but by the questions which are asked. It breaks dogmas in physics which simply do not allow the comprehension of biology from a physical perspective. Kauffman notes limits of our actual physics, and proposes tentative ways of exploring.
This book is good for anyone with an inquisitive mind and a desire to explore the nature of Life.

4-0 out of 5 stars Confusion is Part of the Solution
Stuart Kauffman has been probing the "deep structure" of life for decades. He is one of the founding members of the Santa Fe Institute, the leading center for the emerging sciences of complexity. His work therein started in complex Boolean networks in which he found "order for free" in a void seeming to consist of nothing but chaos. This lead him to highly dynamical yet self-structuring autocatalytic sets (now known as "Kauffman sets") which eventually lead him to search for a general biology from which all of life could extrapolate. Kauffman never was much for neo-Darwinism or natural selection, and here he continues his holistic approach to self-organizing biospheres.

Investigations attempts, in part, to outline four candidate laws governing biospheres (large dynamical systems full of self-organizing autonomous agents - such as the universe itself). A lofty pursuit to be sure, givien that biospheres are teeming with so much complexity, interdependence and obscured initial states (to name just a few of the obvious pitfalls). There are also the problems, as Kauffman points out, that biospheres are "nonergodic" and their "nonequilibrium" flowing into a "persistent adjacent other."

Recondite minutia notwithstanding, Investigations is fun in a way not many books of this intellectual magnitude are. Kauffman cuts the hard science with wit and pondering of the utmost human persuasion. While he undermines the very foundations on which modern science stands (the work of Newton, Boltzman, Einstein and Bohr), Kauffman compares the geniuses of Shakespeare and Einstein ("I'm not sure whose genius is the more awesome, " he says.) and emphasizes the importance of story in understanding our lives in the universe.

With a healthy mix of speculation, cutting-edge science and hypothesis steeped in years of grappling with the hard questions, Stuart Kauffman's Investigations is sure to inspire and intrigue, as well as confound and confuse. As he says, "Oh, confusion. Perhaps a certain confusion is healthy. We have not tried to embrace all of this at once before."

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting ideas but get this man a decent editor
Normally I'd dismiss out of hand anyone who claims to have found a fourth law of thermodynamics but from Stuart Kauffman, I'll hear what he has to say. I've been following Kauffman's work for years and his thinking is as engaging as ever. Unfortunately, his prose is not. Grandiose, clumsy and over-written, he sells his ideas short. The language is unreadably uneven as it ranges from patronising pop-sci gobbley-gook to technical minutaie of molecular biology.

Kauffman attempts to articulate something that he calls "general biology". This is simply a dressed-up term for the classic problem of the origin of life. Unfortunately, his explanation also follows the classic pop-sci strategy of explaining one mysterious thing (life) by replacing it with other equally mysterious concepts (work and semantics). In this part of the book, the writing is woefully repetitive and elliptic. No real conclusions are drawn, which is a a monumental let-down given the ego-maniacally overblown introduction. There is an intellectual abyss between Kauffman's definition of life as auto-catalytic systems with one work cycle, and real cells that undergo reproduction and darwinian evolution.

Nevertheless, there are many nuggets of gold in the later chapters. Probably the most interesting is the idea of the adjacent possible. The adjacent possible is the set of all possible chemicals that can be synthesized in one chemical step from all existing chemicals. Unlike other concepts introduced in the book, it is something that can be computed (though not exhaustively). Kauffman then proposes a fourth law of chemical thermodynamics: a chemical system advances into the adjacent-possible as fast as it can. Kauffman shows how this hypothetical fourth law can be analysed by relating this to his previous work on sustainable chemical diversity. Indeed, the best parts of the book are where Kauffman re-caps his previous work on auto-catalytic systems and genomes of real organisms, and then extends the analysis to explain his fourth law of thermodynamics.

Kauffman makes some neat analogies between the chemical adjacent-possible with economics. He points out that classical economic models of pricing rely on the assumption of a finite prestable collection of goods and services. Instead, a more fruitful model for an economy of products can be made in analogy to the ever-explanding set of catalytic chemicals. There is also a great analysis on the limits of the economy of scale where Kauffman makes a analogy between the Ksat problem and the problem of producing diverse products in a single factory. And finally, in the grand tradition of pop-sci books, there is a final chapter where all the problems of quantum mechanics and cosmology are solved with the application of one special idea. Although this last chapter is pure science fiction, the book is worth perservering as some of the ideas are original, useful and genuinely thought provoking. ... Read more

109. Genomes
by Terence A. Brown
list price: $105.00
our price: $105.00
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Asin: 0471250465
Catlog: Book (2002-06-15)
Publisher: Wiley-Liss
Sales Rank: 278310
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Genomes 2 covers modern molecular genetics from the genomics perspective, incorporating major advances made in the past three years, including the sequencing of the human genome, characterization of genome expression
and replication processes, and transcriptomics and proteomics. The text is richly illustrated with clear, easy-to-follow, full-color diagrams, which are downloadable from the book's website (
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Reviews (14)

3-0 out of 5 stars Where's the genome?
On the basis of a favorable "Nature Genetics" review, I bought the first edition of this book--and I was quite disappointed with what I found. Basically, it is just another text on molecular & cell biology but with lousy graphics. (The author explicitly states that the figures and other visualizations somehow limit one's learning & thinking.) I am hoping the recent crops of explicit genomics-oriented texts will be better. But I'd steer clear of this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent General Overview of Genomics
I found that "Genomes" provides the reader with a thorough yet gentle introduction to the field -- ample illustrations, well-written text, frequent sidebars describing relevant techniques or developments. I've found the book to be a good reference to have on the shelf, and have purchased copies for people when they join my lab group in order to introduce them to or refamiliarize themselves with the technologies underlying the generation of sequence data. I can very easily see this book being used to supplement lectures in an introductory course on genomics and biotechnology.

5-0 out of 5 stars Useful Text
"...probably the most up-to-date textbook on molecular biology...a useful text...and reference..." (Annals of Pharmacotherapy, September 2003)

5-0 out of 5 stars Marvelous Text
"...a marvelous text...plenty of definitions and excellent illustrations essential for an introductory textbook...the reader is...guided wonderfully through the text...this text is an essential cornerstone of information..." (Pharmaceutical Research, Vol. 19, No. 12, December 2002)

5-0 out of 5 stars User Friendly
"...a second edition to incorporate new developments in genome science and to make the book more 'user friendly'...the book substantially exceeds that modest objective; this is a text suitable for anyone who does not specialize in genome science." (Clinical Chemistry, Vol. 48, No. 12) ... Read more

110. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors : A Search for Who We Are
list price: $23.00
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Asin: 0394534816
Catlog: Book (1992-09-15)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 397620
Average Customer Review: 4.69 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Dazzling...A feast. Absorbing and elegantly written, it tells of theorigins of life on earth, describes its variety and charaacter, and culminates in a discussion of human nature and teh complex traces ofhumankind's evolutionary past...It is an amazing story masterfully told."
World renowned scientist Carl Sagan and acclaimed author Ann Druyan have written a ROOTS for the human species, a lucid and riveting account of how humans got to be the way we are. It shows with humor and drama that many of our key traits--self-awareness, technology, family ties, submission to authority, hatred for those a little different from ourselves, reason, and ethics--are rooted in the deep past, and illuminated by our kinship with other animals. Astonishing in its scope, brilliant in its insights, and an absolutely compelling read, SHADOWS OF FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS is a triumph of popular science.
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Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars Understanding ourselves...
...and the reasons why we do what we do as humans --that's the basic concept of this book which, as most books written by Sagan, is easy to understand and read.

He starts with the big bang, followed by one cell organism , gradually taking the reader into a tale of how it is that we as a species came to be. It gives plausible explanations of so many of the things that religion cannot explain. Biology, human nature and sociology are explained in a simple but interesting way . It leaves the human species uncovered on just what it is that makes us. Books such as Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors enriched my life. Sagan and Druyan were a great team and I for one miss Carl Sagan and his wise approach in explaining science.

5-0 out of 5 stars Carl Sagan breathes humanity into the souls of his readers
From DNA, Darwin, and Huxley to dominance, submission, and primates this book has it all. Carl Sagan was simply a shaman of words and wisdom, while being a prophet of science and rational thought. Shadow's of forgotten ancestors is Sagan's finest hour with unwavering skepticism and a passion unparalleled in the scientific community. I have read this book cover to cover twice, and still feel as though it will have more insight to offer as I begin to read it a third time. The book reveals the egocentric nature of man and his attitudes toward animals as lesser organisms based on ancient fears of his own past . Animals are very complex and intelligent, a sentiment that is for some a deplorable idea with atheist and Darwinian connotations. Sagan simply diffuses the idea to his readers that animals have the ability to feel complex emotions and acquire learned behaviors from parents, just as humans. It is not the author's intention to drag humans through the mud of the animal world, but, rather, lift the animals up to the level of humans by showing our similarities which include: reproductive strategies, behavior patterns, altruism, love, and the perpetuation of the species. Sagan offers an alternative view of the world, a world in which man shares the Earth with other organisms and accepts their differences rather than condemning them. Such an optimistic belief in a world that breeds hate, bias, and indifference. Anyone who reads this book and still believes man is superior to animals and holds a special place in the world, missed the entire point and needs their compassion spoon fed to them.

5-0 out of 5 stars Have You Ever Wondered Who We Are?
After I read The Dragons of Eden, I learned that Carl Sagan explored more than cosmology. He also explored evolutionary biology-stimulated by his wife, the biologist Ann Druyan. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is a book that Sagan and Druyan wrote together. It is much more scientifically rigorous and sophisticated than The Dragons of Eden, and deals not with the evolution of the tripartite brain, but on the evolution of consciousness itself. Druyan and Sagan write that we are like babies left in a basket on a doorstep, never knowing and always wondering what our ancestry is. For me, the most influential of the book's explorations involve the study of the levels of consciousness in other animals, aside from the human animal. Through study after study, many amusing and all interesting, Druyan and Sagan emphasize that the difference between the consciousness of the human animal and other animals is "a difference of degree rather than kind." Indeed, some of the studies indicate that some of the other animals may have consciousness that surpasses in degree that that of the human animal. The book stresses that we will not understand who we are until we view ourselves as part of a continuum, and the book also explorers the history of human resistance to this idea. One or two of the chapters were too difficult for me to understand as a non-scientist, but I was basically able to understand the book while only skimming the difficult chapters about DNA construction and such. It was nice to know that rigorous science was part of the book. This is one of those books that will change your outlook on the world.

5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite book
I had a fundamentalist upbringing and even was a missionary for a couple of years. I'm now 49. Twenty years ago the Cosmos TV series changed my life. I've since read all of Sagan's books. While all are good, I think the most valuable is Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors and the second most valuable is Demon Haunted World. Also, the photograph of earth taken by the Voyager spacecraft from beyond the orbits of Neptune and Pluto, in Chapter 1 of Pale Blue Dot, is something everyone should see.

All my life I wondered why we behave the way we do and why things are the way they are. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is the most helpful thing I have found.

For me, parts of the first third of the book were a little dry, but it became a livelier read after that.

5-0 out of 5 stars enlightening
Sagan/Druyan deconstruct the Western Chrisitan Myth of Intrinsic Human superiority over their mammal kinfolk. They show how we may be cleverer, but not that much different then our primate
cousins. Sobering, intelligent and beautiful. Recommended. ... Read more

111. The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future
by Riane Eisler
list price: $18.00
our price: $12.24
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Asin: 0062502891
Catlog: Book (1988-09-01)
Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco
Sales Rank: 19633
Average Customer Review: 4.15 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (47)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Useful Revisionist Exercise
Riane Eisler marshalls compelling evidence from many disciplines to assert that the struggle between a "gylanic" social structure based on male-female partnership exemplified in ancient Crete and Turkey, and a male dominated "androcracy", has been the major unseen force shaping western history and is once again in our time coming to a head."

Eisler writes that the "root of the problem lies in a social system in which the power of the blade is idealized." In contrast to this male-oriented power, Eisler describes the power of the chalice, "the power to transform death into life through the mysterious cyclical regeneration of nature." Her book poses a radical revisioning of the past which pushes the advent of civilization further back into the Neolithic era to include cultures which practiced a "gylanic" form of society. Regarding biblical history and morality, Eisler notes that "to the extent that it reflects a [male] dominator society, it is at best stunted."

Continuing with biblical history as she advances her analysis forward to the present day, Eisler writes that "the more gylanic followers of Jesus tried to transform the cross on which he was executed into a symbol of rebirth- a symbol associated with a social movement that set out to preach and practice human equality and such "feminine concepts as gentleness, compassion and peace." Eisler also details the attempt by some Gnostic Christians to establish a continuum of psycho-sexual identity in the face of opposition from church patriarchs as another instance of the gylanic retreating in the face of androcratic political power. I found this revisionist adventure to be very useful, and I recommend it to those seeking the reintegration of a culture mesmerized by scientism, materialism, and the faux enlightenment of prosperity.

5-0 out of 5 stars The MOST IMPORTANT book I've ever read...
Based on the work of the remarkable archaeologist Marija Gimbutas and many other scientists and scholars, Riane Eisler discusses Truth after Truth of our world's wonderful Prehistory in which, rather than the caveman Lie, our ancestors were peaceful, highly artistic, compassionate people who loved and celebrated all Life and worshipped the Goddess. The remains of their cities prove that they lived communally with no slaves and no signs of war for 2000 years until the cruel, bloody invasions of the peripheral, nomadic Indo-Europeans. Our "civilization" has ever after been based on the Dominator model: a history filled with wars, slavery, murder, rape, violence; men dominating women, children, and other men; in which values of compassion and peace are set aside or suppressed. I was continually amazed that in each chapter, Eisler brings up new points for discussion, speaking directly to the Soul about our history and the Present. And from the Truth of our Prehistoric past, when people were developing a truly peaceful and egalitarian society, we definitely can make this a reality for our future. This can be a world in which every Person is truly Free and Equal, a world without war or violence, in which the Arts flourish, creativity has no bounds, and we live at peace with all of Nature and ourselves: "the power of creativity and love - symbolized by the sacred Chalice, the holy vessel of life - is the governing principle."

5-0 out of 5 stars Truth and enlightenment at last . . .

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent scholarly comprensive work....
Riane Eisler's CHALICE AND THE BLADE is one of those books that had to be written. In it, she asks "Did humans at some point in history create a culture that was far more civilized than the so-called civilizations moderns have been and are experiencing?" And, more importantly, can we do it again? Her answer is a resounding YES and YES and YES. To illuminate and support her thesis Eisler presents the reader with a comprehensive and thoroughly researched synopsis of some of the most salient and scholarly material on this subject published in the late 20th Century when Joseph Campbell was completing an academic career researching and writing about myths, James Mellaart had been excavating and writing about Catel Huyuk, and Elaine Pagels was beginning to rock the theological world with her research on the Gnostic gospels and the Nag Hammadi scrolls.

Eisler's work was first published in 1987, when the right-wing lock on US society was only beginning to choke the great social movements that had been ignited in the preceding decades. These movements were initially viewed as somewhat antithetical to the 'Archie Bunker' school of thought and the mainstream academic views promulgated by conservative Western scholars (Jewish, Christian, and Islamic). Main steam scholars had long ago settled on an androcentric canon of beliefs and world view that saw males as superior to females, and promoted the manly enterprises of war and destruction of the natural environment. The scholars Eisler cites expressed different and non-canonical points of view. Eisler explores their works and the works of others as she examines the art, social mores, beliefs, and technology of the Neolithic Age.

According to Eisler, the extant information supports the notion that humans once worshipped a Mother Goddess who was viewed as the source of life unlike the later Gods who were War Gods and all about death and dying.The followers of the Mother Goddess were probably centered in Eastern Europe and Western Asia, particularly Crete. Their cultures were destroyed by blade-wielding fiendish tribesmen whom Eisler names 'Kurgans'. These Kurgans, were herders who entered the agrarian areas from the periphery and destroyed what they found. Eisler suggests the Kurgans and their militaristic namesakes have controlled the area as well as the rest of the world ever since, although brief periods of gylanic (female, Humanistic) resurgance occurred in periods demarcated by Christian love (agape), Renaissance Humanism and the 20th Century "New Age" movement.

I found this book illuminating and provocative. It seems "He who lives by the sword (blade) dies by the sword" and the sooner we change that the better. Eisler seems to think we should spend more time looking for the grail (chalice of love) and I agree.

4-0 out of 5 stars If you like reading influential visionary books read this!
Riane Eisler's The Chalice and The Blade is a great book for many reasons. One is that is has influenced many other writers, including men. Another is that it is a books which influences aspects of feminism today. First published in 1988, it is also a book that has created controversy down to this day. It is spurned and embraced by feminists and non-feminist, philosophers and historians. Some feminists either want to add this book as a great item to their lexicon, or burn it and look elsewhere.

Non-feminists also want to burn it. Philosophers love or hate the vision and ethics of the book. Historians scorn the book or are intrigued by its posssibilities. These are all signs of greatness, when great emotion and reaction is incited. I credit Riane Eisler with great vision, for that is what this book is: A vision of how things could have been, are, and may be. Visions are meant to expand the mind and open people's eyes to different possibilities. Eisler's famous vision fueled by Marija Gimbutas's work on goddess anthropology from the same time period. Eisler envisions a past where the chalice was worshipped, a golden age of peace that did not involve the subjugation of women in their "proper place" before everything went wrong in the Garden of Eden, but an age when men and women lived together in peace.

She writes of a Utopian Society attacked from outsiders who believed in subjugation and social hierarchy. (You may want to check out Catal Huyak, the controversial Turkish site where fodder for much of this began)I understand criticisms that dislike Eisler's laying the entire blame for all that is wrong at the feet of men, but really, who has been in power? It's not just about wether women are cruel, it's about who has the power. That's been men for millenia. It's a very recent phenomena that women are getting equality at all. Patriarchy isn't all bad, there are many good things about it, and men. (My husband is one, and Lord of The Rings is another:)We're all human. Looking back at Eisler's landmark work knowing what we now know, gives rise to many more speculations. Recently in the Black Sea there were found what looks like actual ones of Women Amazons, or Riders who carry weapons. This isn't that far from Catal Huyak. I'm not sure what it all means but I hope we find out. Chalice and the Blade is a speculative vision, which means, like fiction or a political treatise that it is not meant to be taken as actual history. It is, yes, a revision, of history, and what is wrong with that?

People are always speculating about history, novels written about it. If people are so upset about a book, chances are, you should read it. The Cahlice and the Blade is a vision of what might be another aspect of history, and done to keep humanity's minds open to a diferent future. Since it was written in 1988, it's good to keep up on material that has been researched since and been discovered. For instance, thanks to Paula Gunn Allen, we know that while not being a Ridiculous Utopia, she does write in her essay, When Women Throw Down Bundles: Strong Women Make Strong Nations, that certain tribes of Indians did live in a Society much like Eisler describes before their people were cruelly and methodicaly tortured and killed. Eisler's book is a landmark in feminism, and women's alternative spirtuality movements, and philosophy and for that reason, should be read to see the big picture.

In an age where many men are still misogynists, this book is empowering. I reccommend this book to those with open minds, and those with questions. I recommend as additional reading and viewing: The Frailty Myth, by Colette Dowling, The Paula Gunn Allen Essay I mentioned. I give the book four stars because of it's influence and vision. I would've given it five if it was updated with new info. ... Read more

112. Dragons of Eden
list price: $7.50
our price: $6.75
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Asin: 0345346297
Catlog: Book (1986-12-12)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 23948
Average Customer Review: 4.43 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Dr. Carl Sagan takes us on a great reading adventure, offering his vivid and startling insight into the brain of man and beast, the origin of human intelligence, the function of our most haunting legends--and their amazing links to recent discoveries.
"A history of the human brain from the big bang, fifteen billion years ago, to the day before yesterday...It's a delight."
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Reviews (47)

5-0 out of 5 stars Engrossing
I've always considered Sagan my favorite story teller. He tells both wonderful fictional tales (like Contact), and tales that while certainly grand enough to be fiction, are actually tales of nature and science.

The Dragons of Eden is one such book. So large in its scope that one might think it would be disconnected and hard to follow, it in fact is the perfect balance of big picture and fascinating detail.

If you're even mildly interested in evolution, biology, zoology, neuroscience, or the nature of what really makes us who we are, this book is a must read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Turn your Thinking about Thinking Upsidedown.
I had certainly heard of Carl Sagan, but only in terms of cosmology. I had no idea that he wrote extensively on the field of evolutionary biology-stimulated by his wife, the biologist Ann Druyan. My field is not science, so The Dragon's of Eden was my first encounter with the idea of the tripartite brain. The idea does not originate with Sagan, as he himself points out, but this slender volume makes the idea quite assessable for the lay person and, more importantly, it creatively explores the idea's possible implications. Although I read this book years ago, I have thought of it several times a week since then, as I speculate upon some of the biological causes of human behavior. Newer models of the brain have already proved some of the basic ideas in this book as a bit oversimplified, but if you are looking for an introduction to speculating about how the brain's evolution may shape human behaviors, this is great place to start. I found the book a "mind blower"-and I always pick it up used when I see it to give to friends. Prepare to have your perception of perception itself turned upside down.

5-0 out of 5 stars The "OH SO FABULOUS" Book
Oh my gosh. everyone should TOTALLY read this book. it will give you informative info on all your life questions. i read this book in less than 24 hours and SO CAN YOU! wanna know about dinosaurs and cool aliens? well then DEFINITELY read this book. instead of going to the beach, i stayed in and read this truly intriguing book. oh wow. im such a good student! YOU can be just like me if you read this Carl Sagan dragon junk book. At first you might be discouraged because its REALLY BORING, but if you're into all that space stuff then you'll really like it. my friend OLGA recommended it to me and we just love sharing our thoughts over a nice hot cup of coffee, while checking out the other book worms. anyways be RAD like me and read some carl sagan today!

5-0 out of 5 stars In a league of his own
Carl Sagan is one of the select few prolific non-fiction writers who can manage to create a masterpiece each time. While much of _Dragons of Eden_ is dated, the book was way ahead of its time and probably remains on the cutting edge of theory in the evolution of human intellegence (at least in the popular realm).

Those areas in which the book is clearly a generation old (Sagan predicts that someday computers will have television like interfaces, that regular people may have access to them and that they someday may exist in peoples' homes), are endearing, yet they also exemplify Sagan's foresight and wisdom. Predictions like these, and others (such as the then-absurd notion that genetic engineering may someday become science fact), are what sets him apart. As a scientist, he is a skeptic in the purest sense, but that doesn't mean he lost his imagination and ambition. He was not a cynic.

I recommend this book to just about anyone who is a Sagan fan. However, it isn't his best work. I would certainly place either _The Demon Haunted World_ and _Billions and Billions_ above this.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sagan's Best
This was the first book I read by Cark Sagan while in college. As a layman, I found it to be completely accessible and absolutely fascinating. Among the most memorable of his well-thought out and original theories are: his belief that man's inherent fears of snakes and heights can be traced back to his days as a tree-dwelling primate during which the snake constituted his only natural enemy; his idea that the ogres, elves, goblins, and "little people" that pop up in every culture's myths and fairy tales are genetic memories of a time when man's ancestors shared the earth with other intelligent humanoids; and his speculation that perhaps man is the only primate capable of verbal speech (chimpanzees and other primates are right on the brink, so to speak, as evidenced by their quick grasp of sign language) because his ancestors engaged in genocide against other linguistic humanoids- their primary competition. Sagan is best known as the man who popularized astronomy. But this book, one of his best, shows that he was just as interesting when he focused on man's origins, as opposed to his destination. ... Read more

113. Sense and Nonsense: Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behaviour
by Kevin N. Laland, Gillian R. Brown
list price: $36.00
our price: $36.00
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Asin: 0198508840
Catlog: Book (2002-06-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 384861
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Can evolutionary theory really help us to understand human behaviour? 'Sense and nonsense' provides an exciting, readable introduction to the science behind the works of Dawkins, Dennett, Wilson and Pinker. Including profiles of the major protagonists, the book provides the first balanced account of evolutionary theory, and all its faults. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars God sense, not nonsense
The final chapter of E O Wilson's Sociobiology was a bombshell whose shockwaves reverberate today. Kevin Laland and Gillian Brown set out to sift through the morass of evolutionary approaches to human nature that is has spawned.

This is a useful review of the various schools of research, although I would have liked a firmer conclusion than 'a pluralistic approach is best'. Sometimes the authors could be a little less polite and have a little more bite.

Good stuff overall though, probably most helpful for those new to the area, or for students looking for an introduction. The book is a little light in content, concentrating on methodology, but the emphasis on cultural processes, absent from many evolutionary discussions, is most refreshing.

Do Laland and Brown successfully separate the sense from the nonsense? No. But they do equip the reader with some of the tools to do it for herself.

5-0 out of 5 stars A breath of fresh air
This book is both a great read, and an informative one, for anyone interested in human behavior, evolutionary theory, and the links between the two. The area of potential evolutionary bases to human behavior has traditionally been filled with much controversy, some fighting, scattered irresponsible speculations and pronouncements that at times have produced tragic effects, and quite often, more heat than light. Laland and Brown have produced a book that is truly a breath of fresh air. One of the things I liked most about Sense and Nonsense is that Laland and Brown had actually sat down to talk with--and listen to--many of the leading proponents of different "schools" of thought. They work hard in Sense and Nonsense to give a fair presentation of each different approach, before moving on in each chapter to provide their own analysis of the approach presented from their own perspective as working scientists. In the midst of an area in which some researchers have been prone to simply shout louder--often literally--at those they disagree with, Laland and Brown have truly taken the time to listen, reflect, and form considered and thoughtful judgements. This is a service to all of us: After reading their book, I know that I will always look reflect differently on researchers' claims of evolutionary bases of human behavior, whether that's hearing them at a conference, or reading a journal article, or the latest best-selling book or TV interview. If you want to improve your understanding of evolution and human behavior, get a guided tour through the area and its controversies by two thoughtful experts, and come out with a changed perspective that will likely always stay with you, then read Sense and Nonsense. Great book. ... Read more

114. The Origin And Evolution Of Cultures (Evolution and Cognition)
by Robert Boyd, Peter J. Richerson
list price: $35.00
our price: $35.00
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Asin: 019518145X
Catlog: Book (2005-01-30)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 90868
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Book Description

Oxford presents, in one convenient and coherently organized volume, 20 influential but until now relatively inaccessible articles that form the backbone of Boyd and Richerson's path-breaking work on evolution and culture. Their interdisciplinary research is based on two notions. First, that culture is crucial for understanding human behavior; unlike other organisms, socially transmitted beliefs, attitudes, and values heavily influence our behavior. Secondly, culture is part of biology: the capacity to acquire and transmit culture is a derived component of human psychology, and the contents of culture are deeply intertwined with our biology. Culture then is a pool of information, stored in the brains of the population that gets transmitted from one brain to another by social learning processes. Therefore, culture can account for both our outstanding ecological success as well as the maladaptations that characterize much of human behavior. The interest in this collection will span anthropology, psychology, economics, philosophy, and political science. ... Read more

115. Genetics and Analysis of Quantitative Traits
by Michael Lynch, Bruce Walsh
list price: $89.95
our price: $89.95
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Asin: 0878934812
Catlog: Book (1997-12-01)
Publisher: Sinauer Associates
Sales Rank: 162658
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Genetics and Analysis of Quantitative Traits brings together the diverse array of theoretical and empirical applications of quantitative genetics under one cover, in a way that is both comprehensive and accessible to anyone with a rudimentary understanding of statistics and genetics. What was originally envisioned as a single text has now become two, with the focus of this first book being on the basic biology and methods of analysis of quantitative characters. (The second book, Evolution and Selection of Quantitative Traits, will address the basic principles that govern the evolutionary dynamics of quantitative characters under the forces of mutation, random genetic drift, and natural and/or artificial selection, integrating the theory of evolution of such characters with existing empirical data from natural and domesticated plant and animal populations.) Written as a general text in quantitative genetics, the book will also be useful as a basic reference for the seasoned professional. Throughout, central theoretical concepts are developed from first principles. To aid the less statistically sophisticated reader, several chapters and appendices focus on the basic statistical tools needed to digest the book. Wherever possible, theoretical and analytical concepts are illustrated with empirical examples from diverse settings.

Three major features of Genetics and Analysis of Quantitative Traits distinguish it from earlier work. First, it reflects the explosive influx over the past few years of quantitative-genetic thinking into evolutionary biology. Second, in animal breeding, enormous strides have been made in the development of new techniques for estimating breeding values (for the purposes of identifying elite individuals in selection programs) and for estimating variance components from samples of complex pedigrees. In this text's last two chapters, the authors outline the basic principles of complex pedigree analysis, without getting bogged down in technical details. Third, Genetics and Analysis of Quantitative Traits provides a broad overview of the newly emerging array of techniques for quantitative-trait loci (QTL) analysis, currently one of the most active fields of quantitative-genetic research.

Genetics and Analysis of Quantitative Traits contains numerous fully-worked examples and illustrations of theoretical concepts, as well as over 2,000 references with indices by subject, author, and organism. In addition, the authors maintain a World Wide Web site featuring up-to-date lists of computer programs and on-line resources, and added information on various topics presented in the text. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive in scope
I read this book with the expectation that it would give me an idea of the extent to which organism traits or phenotypes are determined optimally. Discussions on evolution frequently regard the functioning and attributes of an organism as being optimal at the particular time in its evolutionary history. A successful theory of evolution as a theory of mathematical optimization would entail a thorough understanding of the evidence for this hypothesis of optimality of phenotypes.

Another interesting question as to what effect a certain mixing of genetic factors, each one of these factors determining a phenotype separately (and optimally), would determine an optimal phenotype. An answer to this question would be important from the standpoint of transgenic strategies.

But this book is not about optimization theory in genetics, but one that introduces the reader to an analysis, in the authors view, of how evolution happens, and not a predictive tool of what ought to evolve. And, as the authors correctly point out, the time scales needed to evolve an optimal phenotype are not usually dealt with in discussion on optimization strategies. The authors also argue that optimization theories do not consider the expected phenotypic variance or the influence of random drift or mutation. Quantitative genetics does this, they state, and they define it as a mechanistic theory of the evolutionary process.

What is also interesting about quantitative genetics is that it was responsible directly or indirectly for a large body of statistical theory, many of these results being standard material in modern classes in statistics. It is also beginning to find an intersection with the theory of molecular genetics. The authors remark that eventually both quantitative and molecular genetics will have to answer to each other, and they give a taste of this in the chapter on marked-based analysis and QTLs.

There is no question that the reading of this book will give the reader a comprehensive overview of quantitative genetics. But, it takes an very long time to get through, and there are no exercises to test the understanding. Readers will need a fair knowledge of statistics to read the book, but there are three chapters and appendices in the back of the book outlining some of the necessary statistical concepts. The level of mathematics is the most sophisticated in the last chapter, which uses techniques such as maximum likelihood, expectation maximization, and restricted maximum likelihood. Readers with a background in bioinformatics will be very familiar with these techniques. Newton-Rhapson methods and Fisher's scoring method are discusses as derivative-based methods for solving the ML/REML equations and compared with the EM methods for doing the same. The authors are very convincing in informing the reader of the difficulty in estimating genetic variance components in real populations. Also, and most importantly, there are myriads or real-world examples given to illustrate the theory.

For molecular geneticists, and for those very curious about the connection between molecular biology and quantitative genetics, chapter 14, covering the principles of marker-based analysis, would probably be the most interesting in the book. The treatment is both historical, discussing the effects of entire chromosomes, and modern, discussing topics such as using markers or the construction of nearly isogenic lines and cloning individual QTLs. In the 'classical' approach to marker-based methods the authors discuss chromosomal assays, wherein a chromosome from one line is substituted into a standard genetic background chosen to have minimum variance. Since a chromosomal segment may contain a large position of the total genome, the authors take what could be called a 'coarse-grained' approach that utilizes genetic factors rather than a 'microscopic' one emphasizing individual genes. Such a strategy requires large sample sizes if one is to detect factors that result in extremely small effects. Examples of this approach are given, and the authors discuss its weaknesses, one being that a large chromosomal section can have QTLs that have effects in opposite directions, resulting in a net effect close to zero. Thoday's method is also discussed in order to point out the limitations of using flanking-marker mapping methods. The genetics of Drosophila bristle number is also briefly treated, but many references are given.

Recoginizing that direct sequencing of DNA gives a measure of genetic variation, the authors point out though that restriction fragment length polymorphisms are suitable for most purposes, assuming that these are detectable. The advantages and disadvantages of other techniques, such as randomly amplified polymorphic DNAs, are also discussed. The arithmetic involved in genetic mapping is treated in fair detail, the authors overviewing what is involved mathematically in map distances, recombination frequencies, and in the estimation of how many randomly distributed markers are needed to gaurantee that a portion of the genome is within a given number of map units of a marker. The strategies for mapping and cloning of QTLs are the main emphasis in the rest of the chapter. Some of the more interesting discussions here include: 1. The phenomena of 'linkage drag', wherein linked undesirable geness can be dragged along with the marker; 2. Candidate loci and their use in the study of genetic disorders. The authors outline in great detail the problems with this approach, such as linkage disequilibrium; 3. Gene cloning and its use in the study of QTLs. The authors discuss two different cloning strategies, namely that of transposon tagging and positional cloning. The authors emphasize the need for inbred lines for the detection of QTLs by transposon tagging to reduce variance from segregation at other loci. Because of this need, they seem skeptical of the general use of this technique, but give a brief argument as to its possible success using homologies in sequence data between species. The authors also emphasize the complexity involved in the use of positional cloning and comparative mapping and then outline an algorithm as to how to use NILs to do positional cloning of a QTL.

5-0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive
An amazing book that really tells you all you need to know about designing and analyzing quantitative genetic experiments.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book.
An awesome book. Everything you ever wanted to know about quantitative genetics and more. A must for every evolutionary biologist. ... Read more

116. Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics
by Jonathan Pevsner
list price: $94.50
our price: $85.05
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Asin: 0471210048
Catlog: Book (2003-10-31)
Publisher: Wiley-Liss
Sales Rank: 357602
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Wiley is proud to announce the publication of the first ever broad-based textbook introduction to Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics by a trained biologist, experienced researcher, and award-winning instructor. In this new text, author Jonathan Pevsner, winner of the 2001 Johns Hopkins University "Teacher of the Year" award, explains problem-solving using bioinformatic approaches using real examples such as breast cancer, HIV-1, and retinal-binding protein throughout. His book includes 375 figures and over 170 tables. Each chapter includes: Problems, discussion of Pitfalls, Boxes explaining key techniques and math/stats principles, Summary, Recommended Reading list, and URLs for freely available software. The text is suitable for professionals and students at every level, including those with little to no background in computer science. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended
" intriguing work targeted toward biologists wanting to solve problems...provides a compendium of many biological insights and breakthroughs and will be a useful resource...highly recommended." (Choice, Vol. 41, No. 7, March 2004)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent for bioinformatics from a user's perspective
Unlike the previous review, I found the user perspective, rather than the mathematical perspective refreshing. I have been teaching bioinformatics to CS students for several years and all too often the students are great at algorithms and theory but do not understand the user they are designing for. This book teaches just that -- how to use bioinformatics from a user or researcher's viewpoint. Medical students and biologists will find it useful for direct applicability to their work, but I also reccomend it for bioinformatics students who need to complement their theoretical background with practical use. All too often, CS students of bioinformatics can design a great database with powerful access tools, but with a horrible interface because they don't have this perspective.

Now, for the book itself. It is easy to read and covers all aspects of bioinformatics from a sequence perspective (information retrieval, BLAST, gene expression and microarrays, proteomics and protein bioinformatics, genomes and disease). The coverage of databases and URLs is thourough and the text is easy to read, yet useful. The book is comprehensive with one area seemingly missing -- it would have been useful to include a chapter on systems biology and/or cellular modeling and the tools available (i.e. E-Cell). The book is especially useful to a researcher who is trying to explore all aspects of a particular gene, protein, disease, or pathway using bioinformatics tools.

The book is in stark contrast to the other Pevser (that is Pevzner) who wrote a bioinformatics book that surveyed algorithm theory underlying bioinformatics.

This book is also useful for less technical professionals in industry -- the managers, lawyers and venture capitalists that pervade the biotech landscape all need to communicate effectively and they can surely learn that here, provided they have some background in cell biology first.

3-0 out of 5 stars Bioinformatics for computational dummies
A genious attempt to present bioinformatics as if it is a discipline without any computational content. Perfect for students who lost any hope to understand what is the engine driving bioinformatics tools but want simply to memorize how to use them instead. Must be a very comfortable reading for biologists but is as exciting as a long carefully designed restaurant menu for a mathematician. If the author wants to raise a new generation of biologists with this book then biology and *real* bioinformatics will be divorced forever. ... Read more

117. Fundamentals of Molecular Evolution
by Dan Graur, Wen-Hsiung Li
list price: $57.95
our price: $57.95
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Asin: 0878932666
Catlog: Book (2000-01-15)
Publisher: Sinauer Associates
Sales Rank: 158007
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This book describes the dynamics of evolutionary change at the molecular level, the driving forces behind the evolutionary process, the effects of the various molecular mechanisms on the structure of genes, proteins, and genomes, the methodology involved in dealing with molecular data from an evolutionary perspective, and the logic of molecular hypothesis testing. The Second Edition incorporates newly acquired evolutionary insight from genome projects involving bacteria, plants, and animals, as well as analytical tools that have been developed and perfected in the last decade, and has been brought up to date in line with the many advances in genomics, protein engineering, computational biology, and bioinformatics.

The authors explain evolutionary phenomena at the molecular level in a way that can be understood without much prerequisite knowledge of molecular biology, evolution, or mathematics. Both mathematical and intuitive explanations are provided, and examples that support and clarify the many theoretical arguments and methodological discussions are included. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

1-0 out of 5 stars C value Chart
Its a pretty ok book. They didn't do alot of true research for it. They did alot of "adaptist story telling" in the book. For example: In the chart about C value. They took a chart from another reference and they called Amphiuma means a newt. Amphiuma means i by no means a newt. Its a long aquatic salamander with 4 small useless legs and gill slits.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very interesting...
I read this book for pleasure, and I found it very informative since I was interested in the subject matter prior to buying it. It is mathematically intense at parts, and I skipped those parts. Well worth the money if you have a passion or budding interest in this field.

4-0 out of 5 stars In depth, informative
This is a very complex, indepth, informative book on molecular and genetic evolution. Explainations of genetic drift, mutation rates, times to fixation, patterns in evolutionary changes. Lots of statistical information on how allele frequencies change. Written for a knowledgable audiance with a good understanding of evolution and genetics. Gives informative understanding of trends in evolution beyond natural selection. Supports neutral theory of evolution quite strongly. ... Read more

118. The Seven Daughters of Eve
by Bryan Sykes
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
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Asin: 0393323145
Catlog: Book (2002-05-01)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 6254
Average Customer Review: 3.68 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The national bestseller that reveals how we are descended from seven prehistoric women. One of the most dramatic stories of genetic discovery since James Watson's The Double Helix, The Seven Daughters of Eve reveals the remarkable story behind a groundbreaking scientific discovery. After being summoned in 1997 to an archaeological site to examine the remains of a five-thousand-year-old man, Bryan Sykes ultimately was able to prove not only that the man was a European but also that he has living relatives in England today. In this lucid, absorbing account, Sykes reveals how the identification of a particular strand of DNA that passes unbroken through the maternal line allows scientists to trace our genetic makeup all the way back to prehistoric times, to seven primeval women, the Seven Daughters of Eve. ... Read more

Reviews (81)

5-0 out of 5 stars Educational, Evocative and Entertaining
Of the many science books I have read, very few have been as well-written and sheerly entertaining as they have been educational.

In "The Seven Daughters of Eve," Bryan Sykes broadens the view of human evolution, tracing migrations through time and around the globe. His descriptions of the discovery and his defense of the paradigm shift of using mitochondrial DNA in anthropology are clear and easy to understand.

The heart of the book is the fictionalized reconstruction of the lives of the seven European "clan mothers" discovered by mitochondrial DNA analysis. Mr. Sykes weaves stories of the day-to-day struggle for survival of women at different points in human history. The stories are evocative, and connected me with the actual women more than simply reading "25,000 B.C." would have done. I enjoyed the stories very much. I only wish that Mr. Sykes had footnoted which of the objects mentioned in the stories had actually been found by archaeologists.

I loved Mr. Sykes' use of the word "feminine" to describe the traits that have nurtured and supported human survival. This book is an antidote to superficial definitions of femininity.

I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in human evolution. I would especially recommend the book to women who want to feel a closer connection with their fore-mothers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book! Accessible science for non-scientists
First of all, this is not a book for those already thoroughly familiar with the workings of genetics. Yes, this book is written in a very popular style but I do not believe this is a flaw, but rather its strength. I found Prof. Sykes' writing style extremely engaging and enjoyable, and quite literally could not put this book down.

He manages to draw the reader in and share his great excitement on his journey of discovering the secrets of DNA. He discusses his DNA analyses on the "iceman" discovered in the Alps, the Cheddar man discovered in a cave in southern England, and even on the bones of the Tsar of Russia, and how all of these led him to realize how DNA analysis could be applied to the greater question of how we are all related. He also naturally adds chapters on what exactly DNA is and how it works, but these are never dry or boring.

The seven chapters in which Sykes fictionalizes the daily life of the seven women he has traced to be the common maternal ancestors of most Europeans are the weakest part of the book. However, while I share reviewer D. C. Smith below's doubts about the monogamous nature of prehistoric male-female relationships and while those lines he cited in his review did have me cringing a bit, overall I would have to say that even these chapters served their purpose quite well, as after reading them I have a much clearer idea of the KIND of existence that these women would have lived. The only drawback I can see is if people take these chapters literally, and after having their own DNA analyzed begin seeing themselves as the descendant of the actual individual depicted in these chapters. These seven chapters are only intended to give us an IDEA of how they lived.

In conclusion, I'd have to say that I really did enjoy this book very, very much and have no problem with giving it a rip-roaring rave review! I hope that soon we will see further works providing more detail on the other maternal clans outside of Europe tantalizingly introduced in this book's final chapter.

In the mean time, I can't wait to have my own DNA analyzed by Prof. Sykes' labs at Oxford at the service listed at the back of the book, and find out just where my own ancestry fits into the big picture. I know it sounds extremely corny to say this, but I really do feel this book has to a tiny extent changed my life!

1-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely painful to read is this book!
Either this stuck up English twit Sykes is writing all about himself or he's writing stupid, phony stone age stories. If I want dumb stone age fiction I'll watch The Flintstones.

1-0 out of 5 stars The Journy of Man is a better book!
It was on here i read that Spencer Wells's Journey of Man book was better than this conceit-trip by Bryan Sykes (TSDOE is a book of which I have had the bad misfortune of reading since---one of the worst reading expeiences of my life). I have since gotten JOM and loved every bit of it. Wells's book is full of much more important facts and there's also a neat section in JOM on the Aryans. Get Spencer Wells's far superior book and learn more about the aryans possibly in your genetic background. Skip this garbage!

1-0 out of 5 stars Not much good comes from this ego trip
Outside of the following. Sykes, in spite of his egomania, conveys the important fact that the all important and numerous British have a good deal of mitochondrial DNA of the Syrian kind. This explains why, say, Charlton Heston (Britsh) looks like Ralph Nader (Syrian). As a British person myself (now residing in the USA) I find it interesting that I have so much arab blood from 10,000 years ago. Everything else in the book is worthless. Basques and Polynesians are too few in number the world over so explaining their origins was a total waste (besides what was an explanation of polynesian dna doing in this book anyway, they aren't even Europeans). Also, we already knew (from Paabo!) that Neanderthals aren't in our dna (at least not very much). And the whole stone age historical fiction concept is really dumb and totally fake. An overall rotten book. ... Read more

119. Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual (3-Volume Set)
by Joseph Sambrook, David W. Russell, Joe Sambrook
list price: $325.00
our price: $325.00
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Asin: 0879695765
Catlog: Book (2001-01-15)
Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
Sales Rank: 101469
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The first two editions of this manual have been mainstays of molecular biology for nearly twenty years, with an unrivalled reputation for reliability, accuracy, and clarity.

In this new edition, authors Joe Sambrook and David Russell have completely updated the book, revising every protocol and adding a mass of new material, to broaden its scope and maintain its unbeatable value for studies in genetics, molecular cell biology, developmental biology, microbiology, neuroscience, and immunology.

Handsomely redesigned and presented in new bindings of proven durability, this three-volume work is essential for everyone using today’s biomolecular techniques.

The opening chapters describe essential techniques, some well-established, some new, that are used every day in the best laboratories for isolating, analyzing and cloning DNA molecules, both large and small.

These are followed by chapters on cDNA cloning and exon trapping, amplification of DNA, generation and use of nucleic acid probes, mutagenesis, and DNA sequencing.

The concluding chapters deal with methods to screen expression libraries, express cloned genes in both prokaryotes and eukaryotic cells, analyze transcripts and proteins, and detect protein-protein interactions.

The Appendix is a compendium of reagents, vectors, media, technical suppliers, kits, electronic resources and other essential information.

As in earlier editions, this is the only manual that explains how to achieve success in cloning and provides a wealth of information about why techniques work, how they were first developed, and how they have evolved. ... Read more

Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive guide to do-it-yourself cloning
When Bobs first recieved this set as a gift I thought it would make a lovely doorstop. My last pregnancy, however, was a triple birth that Bobs and our live-in next-door neighbor, Chompson, cooked up in a petrie dish down in the basement. I thought that this cloning business was all a bunch of hogwash, but as the years pass I've come to realize that two of the babies are exact clones of Chompson! (the third appears to be a clone of Bobs' favorite TV goddess, Farrah Fawcett-Majors) While I think that Bobs was remiss in his choice of subjects, you have to respect the science that makes miracles like this possible.

5-0 out of 5 stars the BIBLE of every biologist
So few and so much to say about this bible of Biology at the bench...
You'll really find everything you want in it, including the composition of all the buffers and solutions, the new protocols for high-tech biology (FLIM-FRET), some paragraphs about bioinformatics and more.Incredibly precise, this book is consequently a big book (3 huge volumes), so better know exactly wath you're looking for before opening it!
The must have of every lab!

5-0 out of 5 stars the BIBLE of every biologist
So few and so much to say about this bible of Biology at the bench...
You'll really find everything you want in it, including the composition of all the buffers and solutions, the new protocols for high-tech biology (FLIM-FRET), some paragraphs about bioinformatics and more.Incredibly precise, this book is consequently a big book (3 huge volumes), so better know exactly wath you're looking for before opening it!
The must have of every lab!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference for all
In this 3 volume set of books the authors summarize the most important laboratory protocols for DNA analysis and cloning. As someone involved in computational biology and mathematical gene sequence analysis, I was needing such a summary to get an idea of just how genetic engineering is actually practiced in the laboratory. The book is definitely written for those readers that are very experienced in these "wet" techniques, but it still could be perused profitably by anyone who is curious about genetic engineering. There is also an excellent website that owners of the books can go to and search for protocols and obtain updates and additions to the protocols.

At the beginning of each chapter, the authors give an introduction to the protocols and this is of an enormous help to those readers with only rudimentary acquaintance with the laboratory procedures. Typically, this introduction contains an historical summary of the procedures as they were developed or discovered. One can only marvel at the ingenuity of the discoverers of these techniques. These introductions are fairly straightforward to read, even for those that are not experts in biochemistry.

At the end of each chapter, the authors include an "information panel" that gives a more in-depth view of the biochemistry or genetics behind the procedures. These are summaries and are highly specialized, and are again meant for experienced readers. A very lengthy list of references is also included at the end of each chapter.

Becuase of the size of this collection, space here does not permit a detailed review, so I will list some of the areas that I thought were particularly interesting or well-written (these coming from the introduction or the information panels only): 1. The DNA synthesis at the colE1 replicon and the interaction between RNAI and RNAII. 2. The discussion of electroporation and the physics behind this technique to introduce DNA into eukaryotic cells. 3. The discussion on the discovery of bacteriophage lambda. 4. The discussion (with diagram), of the assembly pathway of bacteriophage lambda. 5. The summary of the early analysis of DNA using electrophoresis and the different pulsed-field configurations used. 6. The anecdote on the discovery of the polymerase chain reaction. 7. The short discussion on computer-assisted design of oligonucleotide primers. 8. The discussion of oligonucleotide synthesis. 9. The flowchart detailing the preparing and screening of a cDNA library. 10. The history of the development of the methods to synthesize and clone cDNAs. 11. The detailed discussion of the molecular cloning of double-stranded cDNA. 12. The discussion on the methods to validate clones of cDNA. 13. The discussion on magnetic beads for affinity purification. 14. The discussion on the history of DNA sequencing and the different techniques to accomplish it, particularly the information panel on automated DNA sequencing. 15. The discussion of the different types of mutagenesis and the different methods for accomplishing it. 18. The fascinating discussion of how to introduce cloned genes into mammalian cells. 19. The discussion on the steps involved in DNA footprinting. 20 The discussion on green flourescent protein and its use as a fusion tag. 21. The discussion on the use of surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must for molecular biologists
I love this book, however some areas are better covered in Current Protocols in Molecular Biology, and vice versa. So I would recommend having both. ... Read more

120. Developmental Plasticity and Evolution
by Mary Jane West-Eberhard
list price: $49.95
our price: $49.95
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Asin: 0195122356
Catlog: Book (2003-02-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 53379
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The first comprehensive synthesis on development and evolution: it applies to all aspects of development, at all levels of organization and in all organisms, taking advantage of modern findings on behavior, genetics, endocrinology, molecular biology, evolutionary theory and phylogenetics to show the connections between developmental mechanisms and evolutionary change. This book solves key problems that have impeded a definitive synthesis in the past. It uses new concepts and specific examples to show how to relate environmentally sensitive development to the genetic theory of adaptive evolution andto explain major patterns of change. In this book development includes not only embryology and the ontogeny of morphology, sometimes portrayed inadequately as governed by "regulatory genes," but also behavioral development and physiological adaptation, where plasticity is mediated by genetically complex mechanisms like hormones and learning. The book shows how the universal qualities of phenotypes--modular organization and plasticity--facilitate both integration and change. Here you will learn why it is wrong to describe organisms as genetically programmed; why environmental induction is likely to be more important in evolution than random mutation; and why it is crucial to consider both selection and developmental mechanism in explanations of adaptive evolution. This book satisfies the need for a truly general book on development, plasticity and evolution that applies to living organisms in all of their life stages and environments. Using an immense compendium of examples on many kinds of organisms, from viruses and bacteria to higher plants and animals, it shows how the phenotype is reorganized during evolution to produce novelties, and how alternative phenotypes occupy a pivotal role as a phase of evolution that fosters diversification and speeds change. The arguments of this book call for a new view of the major themes of evolutionary biology, as shown in chapters on gradualism, homology, environmental induction, speciation, radiation, macroevolution, punctuation, and the maintenance of sex. No other treatment of development and evolution since Darwin'soffers such a comprehensive and critical discussion of the relevant issues. Developmental Plasticity and Evolution is designed for biologists interested in the development and evolution of behavior, life-history patterns, ecology, physiology, morphology and speciation. It will also appeal to evolutionary paleontologists, anthropologists,psychologists, and teachers of general biology. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars A milestone in the study of phenotypic plasticity
For any evolutionary biologist interested in how evolutionary events are molded and modulated by phenotypic plasticity and developmental processes this book is a "must have". It is a huge, widesweeping review and synthesis of the problem of development and evolution. It will remain as the benchmark for the field for many years. No one can approach this subject without having read this book. In perspective it ranges from the molecular to the macroevolutionary, but always manages to maintain a highly readable style.

5-0 out of 5 stars A vital contribution to evolutionary theory
Developmental Plasticity and Evolution by Mary Jane West-Eberhard is an enormously important contribution to the modern (neo-Darwinian) theory of organic evolution. It presents a new way of understanding evolution. The book teaches us how environmental induction of purely phenotypic events, including learning, can drive evolution, and why a plastic and modular phenotype should replace mutation at the center stage of evolutionary thinking. It is my prediction that this book will precipitate a revolution in thought within biology, but that this will take time, as has any major new idea. Biologists in all fields related to evolution are encouraged to read this work.

The book contains a masterful synthesis of biological facts and theories on the broadest of scales. It unites all disciplines within the biological sciences. It is not, however, merely an impressive review. Rather, it captures a vast collection of data and brilliantly organizes it around a set of fundamental principles about development and evolution from which the main messages of the book are crystallized. Whereas many of the concepts may be described as relatively simple, contemplating the connections between them, as well as their overall unification, becomes an infinitely more challenging and fascinating task. It is from this unification that West-Eberhard's coherent theory of development and evolution blossoms. Expertly guiding the reader from individual concepts to coherent theory, West-Eberhard captures our imagination at every twist and turn, and catapults the reader's mind in a myriad of unexpected directions. The writing is crisp, clean and captivating. The book is filled with exciting and highly felicitous examples from natural history, touching upon the lives of all kinds of organisms, from prions to elm trees and African elephants. The pages are richly textured with detailed examples, illustrations and various intellectual gems. One such delight is a discussion of Darwin's pangenesis theory and how it fails in light of sterile castes in the Hymenoptera.

The book's main contribution to modern evolutionary biology is the revolutionary idea that environmental influences on development, not mutation, are the first order cause of design. This view is a fundamental alteration of emphasis in a field obsessed with genes, genetic drift and mass selection. The book places major emphasis on the importance of genetic accommodation, which occurs when developmentally-mediated changes in the phenotype are molded by quantitative genetic change. The hypothesis of genetic accommodation can be understood as beginning when the environment induces a phenotypic change. This change imposes a new selective regime onto pre-existing polygenic variation. In this way, we are encouraged to understand genes as "followers", as opposed to "leaders" in evolution. The variants can be inherited in subsequent generations if the environmental conditions inducing them are recurrent, and if there is genetic variation underlying the population in the developmental capacity to produce them. Natural selection will favor the spread of a particular environmentally-induced variant when it has positive effects on individual fitness. Although both mutation and environmental induction are considered important modes of initiation of new phenotypic variation, West-Eberhard's argument is that environmental induction is in fact more important.

This thesis challenges the modern gene-centered view of evolution, and in so doing, drives the final nail in the coffin of the "one-gene-one-phenotype" illusion. The book encourages the view that a unified science of evolution can only be achieved with a thorough integration of development into evolutionary biology. To this end, Mary Jane West-Eberhard's treatise is an enormous success. By showing how environmentally influenced development contributes to the origin of novelty in all organisms, the book provides a key missing component of a modern evolutionary theory that biology has been lacking since Darwin. The book is essential reading for all graduate students, researchers and teachers of biology.

5-0 out of 5 stars Evolution and the Genotype-Phenotype Map
For me, West-Eberhard's Developmental Plasticity and Evolution is the most far reaching integration of evolution, ecology and development since Darwin's Origin of Species. This is not merely a review of the literature, it is a book with a definite point of view. In the preface she writes: " The universal environmental responsiveness of organisms, along side genes, influences individual development and organic evolution, and this realization compels us to reexamine the major themes of evolutionary biology in a new light". Like The Origin of Species, this book is meticulous in bringing evidence to bear on each issue. Meticulous does not mean boring! The lucid prose is full of passionate intensity and you follow the author's thinking as you both grapple with each challenge. Along the way, we learn a lot of fascinating biology used as examples to bolster particular ideas.
Who should read this book? Anyone interested in understanding the forces at work in the origin and nature of biodiversity. Undergraduates and graduate students with few vested interests in maintaining narrow disciplinary approaches are the most likely to truly enlarge their world view from reading this work. Will you agree with everything in this large and courageous book? Probably not. Just as we are constantly examining Darwin's propositions, this book challenges us to defend and expand our current thinking. Understanding the interrelations of genes, developmental processes and ecology and their consequences for evolution is an ongoing task and this is the kind of book to shape the discourse in the emerging evo-eco-devo integration for at least a generation to come.

5-0 out of 5 stars Adaptive, flexible phenotypes: A radical, very good idea
This book is meant to educate - to lead away from the sterile debates of causation as NATURE OR NURTURE. It is a monumental achievement by a careful thinker (recent recepient of the SSE's Sewall Wright award), and it will likely change the way you think about how genes and environments interact through development to affect phenotypic expression. If you have ever been confused about ideas in evolutionary process and how phenotypes arise, this is a book you should read. West-Eberhard's treatment of the more-difficult ideas is comprehensive - with enough examples to appeal to the backgrounds of most readers. The book is full of wonderful details of animal behavior, plant biology, the social wasps West-Eberhard has watched her whole life, and much, much more. It will spark much new research - perhaps for decades to come. It will become a citation classic. She has taken on one of the more contentious of all modern debates. For that, for her exhaustive discussion, and for the power of her conclusions, she will be criticized and rediculed. Take my advice: buy the book, read it, think about what it says, and decide for yourself . I think West-Eberhard's achievement is an awesome contribution.

5-0 out of 5 stars commentary
Did the Boston critic fail to find his or her name cited? Perusal would have turned up references to work published in 2000,2001 and 2002. The review was not helpful! ... Read more

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