Covering all species from yeast to humans, this is the first book to tell the story of selfish genetic elements that act narrowly to advance their own replication at the expense of the larger organism.
A fully updated new edition of a critically acclaimed examination of the theories and writings of Richard Dawkins by a world-renowned expert on the relation of science and religion Includes in-depth analysis of Dawkins’ landmark treatise The God Delusion (2006), as well as coverage of his later popular works The Magic of Reality (2011) and The Greatest Show on Earth (2011),and a new chapter on Dawkins as a popularizer of science Tackles Dawkins’ hostile and controversial views on religion, and examine the religious implications of his scientific ideas including a comprehensive investigation of the ‘selfish gene’ Written in an accessible and engaging style that will appeal to anyone interested in better understanding the interplay between science and religion
Evolutionary biologists have recognised that natural selection operates for the good of lower-level units (the individual, the cell, even the gene) rather than the good of the group. In this volume, 12 scientists discuss why this should be the case.
Richard D. Alexander is an accomplished entomologist who turned his attention to solving some of the most perplexing problems associated with the evolution of human social systems. Using impeccable Darwinian logic and elaborating, extending and adding to the classic theoretical contributions of pioneers of behavioral and evolutionary ecology like George Williams, William Hamilton and Robert Trivers, Alexander developed the most detailed and comprehensive vision of human social evolution of his era. His ideas and hypotheses have inspired countless biologists, anthropologists, psychologists and other social scientists to explore the evolution of human social behavior in ever greater detail, and many of his seminal ideas have stood the test of time and come to be pillars of our understanding of human social evolution. This volume presents classic papers or chapters by Dr. Alexander, each focused on an important theme from his work. Introductions by Dr. Alexander's former students and colleagues highlight the importance of his work to the field, describe more recent work on the topic, and discuss current issues of contention and interest.
Selective Sweep deals with the theory and practice of detection of recent adaptive evolution at the genomic level from the patterns of DNA polymorphism. Recent advances in genomic sequencing provide the background for analysis of polymorphic sites in large chromosomal regions or even in whole genome, thus providing the tool for effective identification of loci that are under strong pressure of positive selection. For this reason, the studies of selective sweep, which formerly were of interest mostly to evolutionists, have become widely recognized and appreciated by the large biological community involved in identification of the targets of selection during speciation, host/pathogen interactions, and resistance to chemical agents.
As human populations grow and resources are depleted, agriculture will need to use land, water, and other resources more efficiently and without sacrificing long-term sustainability. Darwinian Agriculture presents an entirely new approach to these challenges, one that draws on the principles of evolution and natural selection. R. Ford Denison shows how both biotechnology and traditional plant breeding can use Darwinian insights to identify promising routes for crop genetic improvement and avoid costly dead ends. Denison explains why plant traits that have been genetically optimized by individual selection--such as photosynthesis and drought tolerance--are bad candidates for genetic improvement. Traits like plant height and leaf angle, which determine the collective performance of plant communities, offer more room for improvement. Agriculturalists can also benefit from more sophisticated comparisons among natural communities and from the study of wild species in the landscapes where they evolved. Darwinian Agriculture reveals why it is sometimes better to slow or even reverse evolutionary trends when they are inconsistent with our present goals, and how we can glean new ideas from natural selection's marvelous innovations in wild species.
The concept of fitness has long been a topic of intense debate among evolutionary biologists and their critics, with its definition and explanatory power coming under attack. In this book, Richard Michod offers a fresh, dynamical interpretation of evolution and fitness concepts. He argues that evolution has no enduring products; what matters is the process of genetic change. Whereas many biologists have focused on competition and aggression as determining factors in survival, Michod, by concentrating on the emergence of individuality at new and more complex levels, finds that cooperation plays even a greater role. Michod first considers the principles behind the hierarchically nested levels of organization that constitute life: genes, chromosomes, genomes, cells, multicellular organisms, and societies. By examining the evolutionary transitions from the molecular level up to the whole organism, the author explains how cooperation and conflict in a multilevel setting leads to new levels of fitness. He builds a model of fitness drawing on recent developments in ecology and multilevel selection theory and on new explanations of the origin of life. Michod concludes with a discussion of the philosophical implications of his theory of fitness, a theory that addresses the most fundamental and unique concept in all of biology.
Why do baby sharks, hyenas, and pelicans kill their siblings? Why do beetles and mice commit infanticide? Why are twins and birth defects more common in older human mothers? A Natural History of Families concisely examines what behavioral ecologists have discovered about family dynamics and what these insights might tell us about human biology and behavior. Scott Forbes's engaging account describes an uneasy union among family members in which rivalry for resources often has dramatic and even fatal consequences. In nature, parents invest resources and control the allocation of resources among their offspring to perpetuate their genetic lineage. Those families sometimes function as cooperative units, the nepotistic and loving havens we choose to identify with. In the natural world, however, dysfunctional familial behavior is disarmingly commonplace. While explaining why infanticide, fratricide, and other seemingly antisocial behaviors are necessary, Forbes also uncovers several surprising applications to humans. Here the conflict begins in the moments following conception as embryos struggle to wrest control of pregnancy from the mother, and to wring more nourishment from her than she can spare, thus triggering morning sickness, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Mothers, in return, often spontaneously abort embryos with severe genetic defects, allowing for prenatal quality control of offspring. Using a broad sweep of entertaining examples culled from the world of animals and humans, A Natural History of Families is a lively introduction to the behavioral ecology of the family.
High Risk Pregnancy examines the full range of challenges in general obstetrics, medical complications of pregnancy, prenatal diagnosis, fetal disease, and management of labor and delivery. Drs. David James, Philip J. Steer, Carl P. Weiner, Bernard Gonik, Caroline Crowther, and Stephen Robson present an evidence-based approach to the available management options, equipping you with the most appropriate strategy for each patient. This comprehensive reference features the fully searchable text online at www.expertconsult.com, as well as more than 100 videos of imaging and monitoring. giving you easy access to the resources you need to manage high risk pregnancies. Prepare for clinical challenges and save time in addressing them thanks to expert advice on treatment options from international contributors. Find and apply the information you need quickly and easily through a consistent organization and at-a-glance summary boxes that discuss evidence-based management options. Access the fully searchable text online at www.expertconsult.com, along with links to Medline. View over 140 videos of detailed fetal imaging and monitoring that aid in diagnoses. Tap into recent developments in treatment and management in four new chapters—Global Maternal & Perinatal Health Issues; Recurrent Pregnancy Loss; Surveillance of the Fetus and its Indications; and Training for Obstetric Emergencies. Apply new evidence-based management options to treat genetic and constitutional factors leading to a high-risk pregnancy (such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and cardiac disease) through new and expanded coverage of these increasingly common presentations. Reference pregnancy-relevant laboratory values with an updated and comprehensive appendix on "Normal Values in Pregnancy." Effectively manage patients newly diagnosed with hematologic and immunologic malignancies, and explore the available drug options. Confirm your diagnoses with greater confidence thanks to full-color images throughout the text.