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Life Sciences - Cell Biology | About Life - Concepts in Modern Biology

About Life

Concepts in Modern Biology

Agutter, Paul, Wheatley, Denys N.

2007, VIII, 244 p.

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This book uses modern biological knowledge to tackle the question: "What distinguishes living organisms from the non-living world?" In the first few chapters, the authors draw on recent advances in cell and molecular biology to develop an account of the "living state" that applies to all organisms, but only to organisms. Subsequent chapters use this account to explore questions about evolution, the origin of life and the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Towards the end of the book the authors consider human evolution, intelligence and the extent to which our species can be regarded as biologically unique. About Life is written as far as possible in non-technical language; all scientific terms are explained straightforwardly when they are introduced. It is aimed at the general, non-specialist reader, but the novel approach that it takes to general issues in biology will also interest students of the life sciences.

Content Level » Popular/general

Keywords » DNA - Homeostasis - biology - ecosystems - environment - evolution - extraterrestrial life - gene expression - genes - life sciences - molecular biology - natural selection - origin of life - prokaryotes - the origin

Related subjects » Cell Biology - Ecology - Evolutionary & Developmental Biology - Neuroscience

Table of contents 

Ingredients of the Simplest Cells.- Bigger Cells.- Hives of Industry.- Delights of Transport.- As If Standing Still.- Internal State and Gene Expression.- Sustaining and Changing the Internal State.- Responding to the Environment.- The Living State.- Stability and Change in DNA.- The Spice of Life.- Curriculum Vitae.- The Origin of Life.- Other Worlds.- Intelligent Behaviour and Brains.- Human Evolution.- Cells, Brains and Computers: Towards a Characterisation of Mind.

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