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Lamarck's Signature : How Retrogenes Are Changing Darwin's Natural Selection Paradigm (Helix Books Series) Paperback – December 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; New edition edition (December 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738201715
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738201719
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.3 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,331,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Edward J. Steeleis associate professor of biological sciences at the University of Wollongong, New South WalesRobyn A. Lindleyis director of the Technology Innovation Research Centre at the University of Wollongong, AustraliaRobert V. Blandenis in the Division of Immunization and Cell Biology at the John Curtin School of Medical Research in Canberra, Australia

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
While the hard science which constitues the heart of this book may not be easy going for most readers, the payoff is worth it. Dr. Steele's "unorthodox" ideas have been met with some hostility since the 1970s. The evidence for a Lamarckian mechanism at work in the immune system now seems very convincing, contradicting one of the main dogmas of Darwinian biology. This book presents the experimental evidence to date as to how adaptive immune responses may be incorporated into the DNA of the organism, thus making them heritable material. If the retrogene mechanism is at work in the immune system what other roles might it be playing in evolution? A huge question for our current understanding of evolution.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By M. D. Michell on August 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
The first 162 pages of this book are great. Steele could spin them off into a short textbook. The explanations of antibody diversity, gene rearrangement and hypermutation are really very good. The rest is a little hard to believe, and where the immune system is concerned doesn't even make sense. Adaptability and variability, not hard-coding, are key to the immune response, so it seems that what he proposes--that learned responses could be passed back into germ-line DNA--wouldn't even be benficial if it were to turn out to be true considering the rate at which most pathogens mutate. But, let the experts address that question. For an overview of antibody production, this is done well.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Frank Bierbrauer on August 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
A book requiring remarckable courage in the orthodox scientific climate of today, given that Darwinian evolution is generally accepted and most views contrary are considered virtual heresy. The possibility of the passing on of acquired characteristics from a parent to an offspring was first proposed by Lamarck some 200 years ago. This new book suggests from experimental evidence gathered over decades that it is possible for immune functions to be passed from parent to offspring this prceeds via retroviruses being able to infect sex cells such as sperm and ovum. Certainly not an unreasonable possibility and given the strong evidence shown in the book not to be passed over lightly. Although the technical details of the biochemistry involved are at times heavy going the authors attempt to alleviate this through a useful glossary and explanations when necessary. Not easy to follow but worth the effort. The book certainly asks some major questions of accepted dogma.
Once again this book highlights that just when the accepted authorities are fixed and comfortable in their domain along comes something to surprise them and everyone, nature just can't stop being creative and interesting can it.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bertrand Ducharme on February 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
A book based on new scientific knowledge, not vague old ideas. The authors put forward precise statements and hypotheses about inheritance of acquired immunity. I find it very instructive for its vulgarization of molecular genetics and of the functioning of the immune system, which is not easy to find elsewhere. I also like its openness and its boldness, which will certainly be attractive for all inquisitive minds.
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