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The Origins of Genome Architecture

Michael Lynch

Publication Date - 03 March 2007

ISBN: 9780878934843

512 pages
7.5 x 9.5 inches

In Stock

Integrates the central observations from molecular biology and population genetics relevant to comparative genomics


With official genomic blueprints now available for hundreds of species, and thousands more expected in the near future, the field of biology has been forever transformed. Such readily accessible data have encouraged the proliferation of adaptive arguments for the evolution of gene and genomic features, often with little or no attention being given to simpler and more powerful alternative explanations. By integrating the central observations from molecular biology and population genetics relevant to comparative genomics, Lynch shows why the details matter.

Presented in a nontechnical fashion, at both the population-genetic and molecular-genetic levels, this book offers a unifying explanatory framework for how the peculiar architectural diversity of eukaryotic genomes and genes came to arise. Under Lynch's hypothesis, the genome-wide repatterning of eukaryotic gene structure, which resulted primarily from nonadaptive processes, provided an entirely novel resource from which natural selection could secondarily build new forms of organismal complexity.

About the Author(s)

Michael Lynch is Distinguished Professor of Biology at Indiana University. He received his B.S. in Biology from St. Bonaventure University, and his Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Lynch has served as President of both the Society for the Study of Evolution and the American Genetic Association, and is a past council member of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His research is focused on mechanisms of evolution at the gene, genomic, cellular, and phenotypic levels, with special attention being given to the roles of mutation, random genetic drift, and recombination.


"This book is a must-read for every genome researcher. It is the most up-to-date and thorough summary of genome evolution published. Almost every page introduces interesting, unanswered problems, making it a gold mine for graduate students in search of a thesis topic." --Axel Meyer, Nature

"If you want a good summary of what genomics has revealed about genome architecture over the last two decades, merged with a nontechnical exposition of the relevant principles of population genetics, this is the book to get." --Daniel Hartl, Nature Genetics

"The book's first twelve chapters are a must-read for anyone interested in the evolution of genomes. As a whole, Origins of Genome Architecture represents a serious, valiant, and highly scholarly attempt at making sense of the new data provided by the genomic revolution. To that aim, Lynch deploys the full array of conceptual tools that make up the modern synthesis paradigm in evolutionary biology." --Massimo Pigliucci, Science

"This volume would be an excellent foundation for an upper-level undergraduate course or a graduate seminar. It has become increasingly clear that a blind reliance on the explanatory power of natural selection has led to a lot of "sloppy thinking" and this book is a start toward clearing up some of this problem." --Richard J. Mural, The Quarterly Review of Biology

"This is a truly remarkable book, which will forever change your view of evolutionary biology. Anyone with even tangential interest in evolution needs to read the preface, epilogue, and especially the fourth chapter on population size. Lynch takes a detailed knowledge of molecular genetics and genomics, combined with a refined fluency in population genetics, to create sound sweeping descriptions and predictions about evolution. Read Lynch's book, have your students read it, and let's revise our views of evolution." --Root Gorelick, Plant Science Bulletin

"Lynch presents a synthesis of molecular genetics and evolutionary biology with a goal of driving new interdisciplinary research and understanding. He succeeds admirably. This extremely interesting book presents genomic evolution in a comprehensive manner and with different perspectives. What makes this volume so useful is that each chapter presents not only what and how, but also why (and why it matters). This book will appeal to everyone interested in genetics, molecular biology, and evolution. It is highly recommended." --D. Carroll, Choice

Table of Contents

    1. The Origin of Eukaryotes

    2. Genome Size and Organismal Complexity

    3. The Human Genome

    4. Why Population Size Matters

    5. Three Keys to Chromosomal Integrity

    6. The Nucleotide Composition Landscape

    7. Mobile Genetic Elements

    8. Genomic Expansion by Gene Duplication

    9. Genes in Pieces

    10. Transcript Production

    11. Expansion and Contraction of Organelle Genomes

    12. Sex Chromosomes

    13. Genomfart

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