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Power, Sex, Suicide

Mitochondria and the meaning of life

Second Edition

Nick Lane

November 2018

ISBN: 9780198831907

560 pages
Paperback
196x129mm

In Stock

Price: £10.99

Mitochondria are tiny structures within all our cells, believed to have once evolved from bacteria living independent lives. Drawing on cutting edge research, this book explores the fundamental role they play in some of the biggest themes in biology: evolution, the origin of the sexes, in growth, ageing, disease, and in death.

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Description

Mitochondria are tiny structures within all our cells, believed to have once evolved from bacteria living independent lives. Drawing on cutting edge research, this book explores the fundamental role they play in some of the biggest themes in biology: evolution, the origin of the sexes, in growth, ageing, disease, and in death.

  • A thought-provoking look at our world from the viewpoint of mitochondria, offering a new insight into the nature of life, itself.
  • Shows how our growing understanding of mitochondria is shedding light on how complex life evolved, why sex arose, and why we age and die.
  • Includes a new preface from the author, reflecting on recent developments and breakthroughs in the world of mitochondrial research.
  • Part of the Oxford Landmark Science range: 'must-read' modern science and big ideas, which have shaped the way we think.

About the Author(s)

Nick Lane, Professor of Evolutionary Biochemistry, University College London

Nick Lane is a British biochemist and writer. He was awarded the first Provost's Venture Research Prize in the Department of Genetics, Evolution, and Environment at University College London, where he is now Professor of Evolutionary Biochemistry. Professor Lane's research deals with evolutionary biochemistry and bioenergetics, focusing on the origin of life and the evolution of complex cells. He was a founding member of the UCL Consortium for Mitochondrial Research, and is leading the UCL Research Frontiers Origins of Life programme. He was awarded the 2011 BMC Research Award for Genetics, Genomics, Bioinformatics and Evolution, and the 2015 Biochemical Society Award for his sustained and diverse contribution to the molecular life sciences and the public understanding of science. His books include Oxygen: The Molecule that Made the World (OUP, 2002; 2016).

Table of Contents

    Introduction: Mitochondria: Clandestine Rulers of the World
    Part 1: Hopeful Monster: The Origin of the Eukaryotic Cell
    1: The Deepest Evolutionary Chasm
    2: Quest for a Progenitor
    3: The Hydrogen Hypothesis
    Part 2: The Vital Force: Proton Power and the Origin of Life
    4: The Meaning of Respiration
    5: Proton Power
    6: The Origin of Life
    Part 3: Insider Deal: The Foundations of Complexity
    7: Why Bacteria are Simple
    8: Why Mitochondria Make Complexity Possible
    Part 4: Power Laws: Size and the Ramp of Ascending Complexity
    9: The Power Laws of Biology
    10: The Warm-Blooded Revolution
    Part 5: Murder or Suicide: The Troubled Birth of the Individual
    11: Conflict in the Body
    12: Foundations of the Individual
    Part 6: Battle of the Sexes: Human Pre-History and the Nature of Gender
    13: The Asymmetry of Sex
    14: What Human Prehistory Says About the Sexes
    15: Why There Are Two Sexes
    Part 7: Clock of Life: Why Mitochondria Kill us in the End
    16: The Mitochondrial Theory of Ageing
    17: Demise of the Self-Correcting Machine
    18: A Cure for Old Age?
    Epilogue
    Glossary
    Further Reading
    Index

Reviews

"Review from previous edition Challenging, but rewarding." - Vanessa Thorpe, Observer

"Its the most interesting and significant addendum to Darwin's theory I think I've come across since Richard Dawkins explained how genes are the mechanism for evolution." - Independent on Sunday

"An enthralling account...The author has accomplished something quite breathtaking... Moreover, he brings the science alive...he is always accessible lively , thought provoking and informative. Every Biologist should read this book." - Biologist Philip John

"...for anyone interested in some of the most profound questions of 21st century science. the central proposals of Power, Sex, Suicide are clearly and forcefully propounded... This is a new take on why we are here. Do, please, read this book." - John F. Allen, Nature

"Full of startling insights into the nature and evolution of life as we know it." - The Economist

"Impressive... readable, provocative, and often persuasive... undoubtably important. This is an exciting and unusual book." - Jonathan Hodgkin, Times Literary Supplement

"Magnificent... explains life's workings, fabric, and inner logic with a previously unapproachable coherence." - Oliver Morton, Prospect Magazine

"One of the most interesting stories modern biology has to tell." - Steven Rose, The Guardian

"An enjoyable and readable book. Nick Lane has achieved the difficult goal of taking selected aspects of a complex field and making them intelligible... fascinating." - David G. Nicholls, Science

"I defy anyone to read this book and not come out amazed by the incredible subtlety, complexity, and downright unlikeliness of the mechanisms of biological construction. This book opens up the secrets with an obvious delight from Lane that the readers are likely to share." - Popular Science

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