Vital Dust: Life as a Cosmic Imperative

By Christian De Duve | Go to book overview

Notes

Reference numbers in the notes refer to works in the additional reading list.


PREFACE

The epigraph is from a text by Einstein originally published in the October 1930 issue of The Forum and reprinted in M. Hill, ed., Wise Men Worship ( New York: E. P. Dutton, 1931), p. i.


INTRODUCTION
1.
Data on the comparative sequencing of cytochrome c are from R. E. Dickerson and I. Geis, Structure and Action of Proteins ( Menlo Park, Calif.: Benjamin/Cummings, 1969), pp. 64-65.
2.
In his landmark work, On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection ( London: Murray, 1859), Charles Darwin defines natural selection as the "preservation of favorable variations and the rejection of injurious variations" (p. 81), that is, redefined in modern terms, the process whereby, in a genetically diverse population of organisms competing for the same limited resources, organisms endowed with the hereditary ability to produce the largest number of similarly endowed offspring-- whatever the reason--progressively outnumber the others. This process is considered the driving force of biological evolution. For additional information, see M. Ruse, Darwinism Defended ( Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1982).
3.
Popular accounts of the evidence on the antiquity of life provided by microfossils and stromatolites are to be found in reference 7 and in L. Margulis and L. Olendzenski , eds., Environmental Evolution ( Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1992). For more technical, detailed reviews, see reference 1.
4.
Isotopes are atoms of the same element with different atomic masses. They have the same number of protons and electrons, but differ by the number of neutrons in their nucleus. With six peripheral electrons, 12C has six protons and six neutrons

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