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Speciation [Paperback]

Jerry A. Coyne , H. Allen Orr
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1, 2004 0878930892 978-0878930890 1
Over the last two decades, the study of speciation has expanded from a modest backwater of evolutionary biology into a large and vigorous discipline. Thus, the literature on speciation, as well as the number of researchers and students working in this area, has grown explosively. Despite these developments, there has been no book-length treatment of speciation in many years. As a result, both the seasoned scholar and the newcomer to evolutionary biology had no ready guide to the recent literature on speciation a body of work that is enormous, scattered, and increasingly technical. Although several excellent symposium volumes have recently appeared, these collections do not provide a unified, critical, and up-to-date overview of the field. Speciation is designed to fill this gap.

Frequently Bought Together

Speciation + Ecological Speciation (Oxford Series in Ecology and Evolution) + The Ecology of Adaptive Radiation (Oxford Series in Ecology & Evolution)
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Editorial Reviews


The recent work on speciation has utilized theory, ecology, genetics, molecular biology, and comparative studies, and these broad approaches have contributed greatly to our knowledge of the process of speciation. Speciation is the first book that summarizes and synthesizes this recent work from different fields while maintaining a keen historical perspective on the major questions about the origin of species. ... Speciation is incredibly well organized and clear ... A major strength of the book is that Coyne and Orr draw attention to unanswered questions to stimulate future research. This is an excellent resource that a new graduate student or postdoc entering the field can use to see where there are opportunities for novel research and creative approaches. ... the depth and breadth ensure that it will still be useful for a seasoned evolutionary biologist working in the field. I am sure I will continue to pull it off my shelf on a regular basis. --Catherine L. Peichel, Developmental Cell

About the Author

Jerry A. Coyne is Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago. He earned his Ph.D. (Biology) at Harvard University, followed by an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Genetics at the University of California, Davis. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses spanning a wide range of topics, including evolutionary biology, speciation, genetic analysis, social issues and scientific knowledge, and scientific speaking and writing. Dr. Coyne was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 1989. He has served as Vice President of the Society for the Study of Evolution (1996) and as Associate Editor of Evolution (1985-1988; 1994-2000) and The American Naturalist (1990-1993). His work is widely published, not only in scientific journals, but in such mainstream venues as The New York Times, the Times Literary Supplement, and The New Republic. His research interests include population and evolutionary genetics, speciation, ecological and quantitative genetics, chromosome evolution, and sperm competition. H. Allen Orr is Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Rochester, where he has taught courses in evolution, quantitative and population genetics, evolutionary genetics, and speciation. He completed his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago and undertook postdoctoral study at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Orr was awarded both the Young Investigator Prize (American Society of Naturalists, 1992) and the Dobzhansky Prize (Society for the Study of Evolution, 1993). Other honors include the David and Lucile Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering (1995-2000) and a Guggenheim fellowship (2000-2001). Dr. Orr has served on the editorial boards of Evolution (1998-2000) and Genetical Research (1996-present), authored or coauthored numerous articles in scientific journals, and been a frequent contributor of book reviews and critical essays to such publications as The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, and Boston Review. His research interests include population genetics, the genetics of speciation in Drosophila, and the genetics of adaptation.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 545 pages
  • Publisher: Sinauer Associates, Inc.; 1 edition (May 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0878930892
  • ISBN-13: 978-0878930890
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #488,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jerry A. Coyne has been a professor at the University of Chicago in the department of ecology and evolution for twenty years. He specializes in evolutionary genetics and works predominantly on the origin of new species. He is a regular contributor to The New Republic, the Times Literary Supplement, and other publications.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Coyne and Orr: Lords of the flies? November 17, 2007
I bought this book for a cross-disciplinary seminar on Speciation. I was the lone plant biologist in the group. I was not deterred. After all, Darwin was a botanist and some of the most intriguing work in evolution has focused on plants. Since G. Ledyard Stebbins wrote Variation and Evolution in Plants in 1949, there is concensus (I think) that plants--perhaps together with bdelloid rotifers--are what make the "species problem" such a problem. With visions of Taraxacum and Rubus and other such deliciously vexing groups running through my mind, I dove in with gusto. What did I find? Flies, flies, flies and more flies! Dobzhansky would be proud. Such an incredible diversity of plant topics that might have been brought to the table were simply overlooked, ignored, or--as I began to suspect further in--simply not understood. I found myself writing the same note over and over in the margin, "yes, but this isn't true of plants". The authors do admit early on that the book is Drosophila-rich, but this is no excuse for not expanding to include other relevant biological systems here.

Coyne and Orr are married to the biological species concept and flat out don't believe in sympatric speciation. If one was actually to apply their "modified" version of the BSC to plants, the taxonomy of plants as we understand it today would collapse. And if you hold any hope that sympatric speciation might be possible, Coyne and Orr will beat those fantasies out of you. In fact, their distaste for the topic borders on fanaticism. By the latter chapters, I found myself rolling my eyes each time sympatry was discussed. Enough!

That said, Speciation is still a solid text on the topic and an excellent introduction for advanced undergrads or grad students.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars nice review but rather pedantic January 16, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
i bought this book for a class on speciation. however, as a botanist i was somewhat disappointed to find 70% of the papers cited throughout the book related only to drosophila. coyne and orr's personal research deals only with drosophila so this seems like their bias on display. they also use superlatives more often in relation to their own work than anyone else's. though it's a harmless habit, it can become annoying and detract from the rest of the content of the book. the book is a probably the best review of major developments in our understanding of speciation in the past several decades, but it isn't perfect.
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24 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for speciation studies December 18, 2004
This is an excelent book for anyone interested in the processes of speciation. The book is written so that an advanced undergraduate can understand it, but a proffessor of evolution can still get insight from it. Theories of speciation are well laid out and discussed in-debth. A excelent addition for any professional book collection.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars maybe a good one, but hard to follow October 3, 2011
By ben
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm not professional in this field so it is a little difficult for me to follow the writing style.

Maybe it is a good book for experts, but hard to follow for outsider who just wants an introduction to speciation.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is THE book in the field. March 23, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the most up-to-date book in the field of speciation. It is comprehensive in theory, data, and taxa, but by no means comprehensive of the biology: that may be more a fault of the field and the topic than the book. Tons of references and suggestions for research programs.
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