Process and Pattern in Evolution

Process and Pattern in Evolution

Process and Pattern in Evolution

Process and Pattern in Evolution

Synopsis

Written in the clear and cogent style that is the author's hallmark, this book for biology students covers a broad range of topics in evolutionary biology. The text is divided into three parts of four chapters each. Part 1 sets the historical, physical and chemical framework for the origin of life, and provides in-depth coverage of the evolution of the genome, metabolic pathways, the genetic code, and cellular organization in primeval life and its descendants. Part II concentrates on genetic processes underlying the diversity of gene organization, function and expression; adaptation and neutral evolution; gene frequency changes in populations; and tempos and modes of speciation. Part III emphasizes patterns and trends in evolution as deduced from morphological and molecular phylogenetic analysis and from geological and paleontological studies. The final two chapters exemplify major evolutionary concepts and approaches as seen in the evolution of the human family from its ancestral vertebrate beginnings to Homo sapiens. The clarity of discussion is enhanced by tables and illustrations, many from the original research literature. Extensive references and reading lists as well as summaries accompany each chapter, providing students with the opportunity to explore further the ongoing challenge of the evolutionary biology of past and present life on earth.

Excerpt

Evolution provides a broad umbrella that covers and integrates virtually all of biology and is made even more sweeping by contributions from astronomers, chemists, geologists, philosophers, physicists, and others. The scope of biological input to the study of evolution includes empirical and experimental data provided by anthropologists, behaviorists, biochemists, cell and developmental biologists, ecologists, geneticists, molecular biologists, paleontologists, physiologists, systematists, and others. Although it was not possible to devote an appropriate amount of space to each of these sets of contributors, I tried in this book to include highlights from most of them. Because of my own interests and perspective, some of these inputs to evolutionary biology have been given greater emphasis than others. Particular emphasis is placed on the genetic contexts in evolutionary studies. For this reason, students should have taken a course in genetics and should know the fundamentals of organic chemistry.

The text is divided into three parts, of four chapters each. Part I sets the historical, physical, and chemical framework for the origin and evolution of primeval life, and proceeds to discussions of the evolution in early life forms of the genetic code, the genome, gene organization, metabolic pathways, and cellular organization. Part 11 concentrates on evolutionary processes that underlie the diversity of gene organization, function, and expression; natural selection and neutral evolution; changes in gene frequencies in populations; and tempos and modes of speciation. Part III deals with patterns and trends in evolution that have been deduced from morphological and molecular phy-

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