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Genetics and the Logic of Evolution

ISBN: 978-0-471-23805-8
560 pages
January 2004
Genetics and the Logic of Evolution (0471238058) cover image


In this book the authors draw on what is known, largely from recent research, about the nature of genes and cells, the genetics of development and animal and plant body plans, intra- and interorganismal communication, sensation and perception, to propose that a few basic generalizations, along with the modified application of the classical evolutionary theory, can provide a broader theoretical understanding of genes, evolution, and the diverse and complex nature of living organisms.
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Table of Contents




1. Prospect: The Basic Postulates of Life.

2. Conceptual and Analytic Approaches to Evolution.

3. Evolution By Phenotype: How Change Happens in Life.

II. BUILDING BLOCKS OF LIFE: A Genetic Repertoire for Evolving Complexity.

4. The Storage and Flow of Biological Information.

5. Genotypes and Phenotypes.

6. A Cell is Born.

7. A Repertoire of Basic Genetic Mechanisms.

III. AN INTERNAL AWARENESS OF SELF: Communication within Organisms.

8. Making More of Life: The Many Aspects of Reproduction.

9. Scaling Up: How Cells Build an Organism.

10. Communicating Between Cells.

11. Detecting and Destroying Internal Invaders.

IV. EXTERNAL AWARENESS: Information Transfer between Environment to Organism.

12. Detecting Physical Variability in the Environment.

13. Chemical Signaling and Sensation from the Outside World.

14. Detecting Light.

15. The Development and Structure of Nervous Systems.

16. Perceiving: Integrating Signals from the Environment.

V. FINALE: Evolutionary Order and Disorder between Phenotypes and Genotypes.

17. A Great Chain of Beings.



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Author Information

Kenneth M Weiss is Evan Pugh Professor of Anthropology and Genetics at Penn State University. After majoring in mathematics at Oberlin College, he received graduate training in Biological Anthropology and genetics at the University of Michigan, where he received his PhD in 1972.  He has written widely on evolutionary principles and biology, human genetics and the complexities of the relationships between genes and traits like human disease or developmental patterns.  He writes a regular column on problems and issues in evolution and genetics for the journal Evolutionary Anthropology, and is the author of Genetic Variation and Human Disease: Principles and Evolutionary Approaches.  He has also been a professional meteorologist.

Anne Buchanan is Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Anthropology at Penn State University.  She has a BA in Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts and a DrPH in Population Studies from the University of Texas School of Public Health.  She has worked on population-scale problems in relation to health and genetics, and on molecular and developmental genetics, and has published in a diversity of areas, including anthropology, demography, epidemiology, genetic epidemiology, and developmental genetics.

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"…the book is indeed recommendable…" (The Quarterly Review of Biology, December 2004)

"for anyone who wishes to know more about genes and evolution and go beyond the classic, classroom theory--this is the book for you...[will] take you on a ride you won't regret." (Heredity, February 2005)

“For anyone who wishes to know more about genes and evolution and go beyond the classic, classroom theory - this is for you…” (Heredity, Vol. 94, 2005)

"This book is well written and would probably be mainly of interest to students of evolution who have a more philosophical perspective or to philosophy students interested in evolution.” (American Journal of Human Genetics, September 2004)

"This book is highly suited to students and scientists in a range of fields who want to understand how evolution works through genetics.” (E-STREAMS, August 2004)

"This book represents a valiant effort in expanding evolutionary thinking in many biological specialties." (Choice, June 2004, Vol. 41 No. 10)

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