ISBN 10: 0393088812 / ISBN 13: 9780393088816
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Inhaltsangabe: Why is life the way it is? For two billion years, bacteria continually evolved without ever changing their basic form. Then single-celled organisms made the jump into complex life. In The Vital Question, award-winning author and biochemist Nick Lane argues that the evolution of multicellular life the kind found in fungi, plants, animals, and humans was contingent on a single event: the first successful prokaryotic endosymbiosis, or a bacterium living within another bacterium. Building on the pillars of evolutionary theory, Lane s hypothesis draws on cutting-edge research into the link between energy and genes to suggest a novel account of cellular evolution and large-scale life as we know it. At once rigorous and enchanting, the conclusions in The Vital Question not only explain the vast sweep of evolutionary history but also provide insights that stretch forward into our understanding of sex, speciation, and the complexity of human life."

Rezension: He is an original researcher and thinker and a passionate and stylish populariser. His theories are ingenious, breathtaking in scope, and challenging in every sense ... intellectually what Lane is proposing, if correct, will be as important as the Copernican revolution and perhaps, in some ways, even more so. (Peter Forbes Guardian)

One of the pleasures of good science writing is that it can awaken, or feed, this kind of curiosity and engagement in the reader, expanding his or her horizons in ways not previously imagined. And, for those willing to make the effort with a sometimes demanding but always clear text, Nick Lane's new book succeeds brilliantly ... I cannot recommend The Vital Question too highly. Lane's vivid descriptions and powerful reasoning will amaze and grip the reader (Caspar Henderson Sunday Telegraph)

Nick Lane is not just a writer of words about science, he is also a doer of experiments and a thinker of thoughts. And these days he is hot on the trail of one of the biggest ideas in the universe: the meaning of the word "life". In this, his third book about energy and life, he comes triumphantly close to cracking the secret of why life is the way it is, to a depth that would boggle any ancient philosopher's mind. Solving this mystery leads Lane into a world of ideas that only Lewis Carroll could make sense of. Six impossible things become believable before breakfast when you are reading a Lane book, and there are plenty here... Like the best science writers, Lane never glosses over the detail. Instead he turns it into a series of detective stories. Poirot-like he leads you from the crime to the perpetrator, from the puzzle to the solution. The difference from a detective story is that these tales are real, and fundamental to life itself (Matt Ridley Times)

One of the deepest, most illuminating books about the history of life to have been published in recent years. ( The Economist)

this is a book of vast scope and ambition, brimming with bold and important ideas...The arguments are powerful and persuasive...If you're interested in life, you should read this does tell an incredible, epic story (Michael Le Page New Scientist)

Nick emerging as one of the most imaginative thinkers about the evolution of life on Earth...a scintillating synthesis of a new theory of life (Clive Cookson Financial Times)

Lane highlights what I think should be a fourth grand theory of life, one that is often overlooked as we remain bewitched by DNA and its several powers. Simply, the idea that life is a chemical reaction... The Vital Question is a bold, eloquent, confident book, and not an easy ride...Don't let that put you off; even The Origin of Species has its chewy sections. Like all great works, it requires effort, and Lane offers no quarter for the casual reader...Nick Lane is not only a master storyteller, but this is his research...he's that rare species, a scientist who can illuminate the bewildering complexities of biology with clear, luminous words (Adam Rutherford Observer)

A tour de force of inventive science (Philip Ball Prospect)

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