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Evolution 1st Edition

7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0879696849
ISBN-10: 0879696842
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Editorial Reviews


''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)


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 833 pages
  • Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; 1st edition (June 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879696842
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879696849
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 1.3 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #835,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jonathan A. Eisen was born in Brookline, MA and grew up in Bethesda, MD. He went to Harvard College where he majored in Biology and then attended graduate school at Stanford University and earned a PhD in Biological Sciences. He was on the faculty at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) for eight years before moving to the University of California, Davis. At UC Davis he is a Professor with appointments in the Department of Evolution and Ecology, the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology and the UC Davis Genome Center. He is the author of over 200 scientific publications, a member of the American Academy of Microbiology, and is actively involved in the movement for increased openness in science.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'm not a Molecular Biologist or an Evolutionary Scientist by profession. So I think my friend who loaned me this book was a bit surprised when I asked if I can borrow the book from her. It is after all a text book for students in extremely specialized field(s). The thing about this book is that you don't have to be in a specialized field to be reading it. It is for anyone who has ever wondered about life on earth, how it evolved, time scales involved in the evolutionary journey, various stages of evolution, different mechanisms life has employed to adapt, etc. etc. It is a fascinating work built upon the original idea proposed by Charles Darwin himself in "On the origin of species", with theories that have since been proven to be facts, and more in depth knowledge about the subject than any other book of its kind out there. This book will literally take you through the tree of life, with wonderful illustrations, and have you thinking about Life like you've never thought before. This book will make you feel connected to the Universe and every life form that has ever existed on the Earth and you can't help but feel both immortal yet insignificant. The particles in your body have been around for an eternity, and will be around long after you're gone. You're part of the Universe and the Universe is a part of you. I'm very fortunate to have had the chance to read this book. It is now part of my collection of books and I highly recommend it to all the curious minds out there.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By puetz on September 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is a decent textbook of high print quality, usually good and professional graphics and modern layout. There is no doubt that a student can learn a lot.

Unfortunately, I do have a couple of issues with this book. I am a biologist and have read 17 out of the 26 chapters (about 2/3). In summary, the book is too long because it is often vague and sometimes fairly technical. Occasionally I had trouble understanding the material because of poorly selected figures or examples. Here are some examples:

The introductory 3 chapters already have some serious shortcomings. For example, the section on "Objections to Evolution" (p. 76) is pretty lame. The argument that evolution cannot be observed is only vaguely addressed. Of course it can be observed, given that we can observe mutations either accumulate from generation to generation or that we can simply generate such mutations at will. We can also observe selection of such mutations in the lab etc. Similarly, the argument that evolutionary theory is not testable is rebutted by the "consistency of phylogenies" and the fossil record. Sigh. Is that all the authors could come up with?

In the same vain, I find many sections vague, with suboptimal examples. For instance, the chapter on evolutionary novelty doesn't really present any novelties but rather "standard evolution". We have known of a number of newly (or recently) evolved genes, novel enzyme activities, or novel morphological structures. There is barely any mention of those. Instead the chapter describes "Müllerian mimicry", how mutations in phosphoglucose-isomerase causes temperature-sensitive differences in kinetics or how opsin can change its light absorption properties by mutations. Hardly any novelty that will convince a creationist.
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Yegor Voronin on January 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
At first glance, the book is fantastic. Only when you start reading it, you discover that it is too unwieldy and tries to accomplish too much. Authors decided not to choose any particular knowledge level for their audience, but instead cover a lot of ground very quickly. The learning curve in this book is extremely steep! This is a book that will take you from description of molecular nature of DNA all the way to such complex concepts as average fitness excess and beyond. Unfortunately, this means that explanations are brief and many things are given as a fact of the matter, without proper explanations of their origins and/or importance. It also means that if you are like me, a scientist with quite a decent knowledge of biology and evolution, then for 80% of this book you will be bored, for 10% you will have no clue what the authors are talking about, and only 10% will be of any reasonable interest to you. In the end, the book is just not fun to read. Very disappointing...
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By Tanakorn Suesatpanit on September 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great condition
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