Mike Yarus's new book belongs on the desk of lots of people, from RNA chemists on up to the general public. I found Life from an RNA World to be a captivating book. --Niles Lehman, in Trends in Evolutionary Biology, July 2010
"not a book for science geeks..a book for science lovers..stylish, almost lyrical" --Alex Stein in the Daily Camera, October 2010..particularly timely...a light-hearted introduction for scientifically minded readers outside the field. The author's discussion of how natural selection can lead to complexity is particularly eloquent.
--Irene A. Chen, Harvard University (Science)
Yarus succeeds in explaining the remarkable nature of RNA, and how this singular molecule ties together the present and the very distant past. - Arthur G. Hunt, Reports of the NCSE, v31 (2011).
So, should you buy this book and read it? Yes -- if you have any interest in molecular evolution you will be enlivened, informed and amused. Will you get definitive proof of the RNA world? No -- as Elvis Costello said, it's 'still too soon to know' - John Sutherland, Nature Chemistry 2: 603 (2010)
Yarus captivates with skilled character development -- but here, the <&ldquo>characters<&rdquo> are the prebiotic molecules that gave rise to everything that has ever lived or is alive today on our planet.
--Thomas Cech, Distinguished Professor, University of Colorado-Boulder, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, 1989Life from an RNA World
is an unconventional book about RNA. Rather than opening with the central dogma and attendant teachings on molecular biology, Yarus uses evolution as a gateway. He then takes us on a journey through evolutionary time, concentrating on the roles of the various forms of RNA...[He] is a proficient guide.
--Tim Harris (Nature
Michael Yarus' book is a very enjoyable read, be the reader a well informed molecular biologist, or a lay person...Surely this book will highlight and increase the interest in the RNA world; raising the awareness that we are all, after all, the children of RNA.
--Michael Ladomery (Chemistry World
Although precise historical details of the particular origin of life on Earth are probably unknowable, most scientists agree that a world existed in which RNA performed the duties of both genes and enzymes. This RNA world in turn evolved into the DNA-RNA-protein world of today. Michael Yarus's Life from an RNA World
offers an engaging introduction to the subject...Recent discoveries make Yarus's book particularly timely, especially as a light-hearted introduction for scientifically minded readers outside the field. His chatty prose conveys the voice of a tour guide on a journey through the RNA world, introducing essential evolutionary and molecular biology and pointing out must-not-miss attractions. Even members of the origins-of-life community may appreciate his whimsical explanations of familiar phenomena.
--Irene A. Chen (Science