''This new [textbook in evolutionary biology] by Barton and colleagues is among the best. The production quality is superb in layout, composition, typesetting, colour palette, illustrations and gorgeous half-tones; and the writing is excellent, as one might expect from such a stellar cast of experts in population genetics, palaeontology, human genetics, bacterial genomics and developmental biology (respectively).'' --Daniel Hartl, Harvard University (Nature)
''The book has many strengths. The prose is crisp and explanations are rigorous but clear. The authors do not hesitate to discuss complex ideas or to provide appropriate caveats about the certainty of our knowledge. The Figures are useful and abundant...The expertise of the authors in quantitative, population, and developmental genetics is obvious; explanations are often less formal than in other texts, but at the same time are more sophisticated and more intuitive. The chapters on diversity include a detailed but engaging introduction to the genetics and genomics of bacterial and archaeal diversity, the origins of multicellularity, and the evolution of novelty inferred from both fossil data and from developmental biology. Although I had assured myself that I would not read the text word-for-word, I found myself deeply immersed in many chapters and read them from beginning to end. The material was not new (for me), but the descriptions and explanations seemed fresher and more compelling than in other current evolution texts. The explicit focus on questions at the molecular level determines the use of examples throughout the text, but these examples come from basic biology, not biomedical science. This book will be particularly attractive to molecular biologists who want to learn the details of evolutionary pattern and process. It may also be the book of choice for evolutionary biology graduate students with interests in population genetics, ''evo-devo,'' and molecular evolution.'' --Richard G. Harrison, Cornell University, Ithaca (Evolution)
''At 833 pages, Evolution
by Barton et al. is a large book, and it is copiously and helpfully illustrated with photos, figures and line drawings, mostly in color. The lion's share consists of Part II, ''The Origin and Diversification of Life,'' and Part III, ''Evolutionary Processes.'' The three chapters of Part I introduce the history of evolutionary biology, including molecular biology, and the evidence for evolution. The final two chapters, in Part IV, provide an excellent, up-to-date summary of human evolution. The discussion of the Out-of-Africa and multiregional hypotheses of the origin of modern humans is nuanced rather than dogmatic. A section on ''Genomics and Humanness'' is brief but incisive. The final chapter on ''Current Issues in Human Evolution'' is exemplary and can be profitably read by medical geneticists seeking to establish associations between genes and diseases.
The expertise of Barton et al. in population and evolutionary genetics is eminently displayed in Part III, which makes up somewhat more than half of Evolution. All the bases are covered, and well covered at that: mutation and variation, population structure, random drift and gene flow, selection, social evolution, speciation, and much more...The last two chapters of Part III, ''Evolution of Genetic Systems'' and ''Evolution of Novelty,'' are priceless. In length, depth and excitement, these two chapters go far beyond what is typically covered in evolution textbooks. The increasingly relevant topic of the evolution of evolvability is helpfully included, and evo devo considerations are again brought to bear in these chapters.'' --Francisco J. Ayala, University of California, Irvine (Nature Genetics)