THE MOLECULAR ORIGINS OF LIFE

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The Molecular Origins Of Life

Author : Andri Brack
ISBN : 0521564751
Genre : Science
File Size : 52.5 MB
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This 199 book reviews discoveries in astronomy, paleontology, biology and chemistry to help us to understand the likely origin of life on Earth.
Category: Science

Molecular Origins Of Human Attention

Author : Richard C. Deth
ISBN : 9781461503354
Genre : Medical
File Size : 31.70 MB
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This volume provides a highly integrated view of attention-related events, taking the reader from individual molecular interactions through the regulation of neuronal circuits to our higher order capacity for selective amplification of particular information. Neuroscientists, psychologists, psychiatrists and other professionals dealing with psychiatric illnesses such as ADHD, autism, and schizophrenia will find this volume a useful addition to their library.
Category: Medical

Molecular Origins Of Brain And Body Geometry

Author : Antonio Lima-de-Faria
ISBN : 9783319060569
Genre : Science
File Size : 20.94 MB
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New concepts arise in science when apparently unrelated fields of knowledge are put together in a coherent way. The recent results in molecular biology allow to explain the emergence of body patterns in animals that before could not be understood by zoologists. There are no ”fancy curiosities” in nature. Every pattern is a product of a molecular cascade originating in genes and a living organism arises from the collaboration of these genes with the outer physical environment. Tropical fishes are as startling in their colors and geometric circles as peacocks. Tortoises are covered with the most regular triangles, squares and concentric circles that can be green, brown or yellow. Parallel scarlet bands are placed side by side of black ones along the body of snakes. Zebras and giraffes have patterns which are lessons in geometry, with their transversal and longitudinal stripes, their circles and other geometric figures. Monkeys, like the mandrills, have a spectacularly colored face scarlet nose with blue parallel flanges and yellow beard. All this geometry turns out to be highly molecular. The genes are many and have been DNA sequenced. Besides they not only deal with the coloration of the body but with the development of the brain and the embryonic process. A precise scenario of molecular events unravels in the vertebrates. It may seem far-fetched, but the search for the origin of this geometry made it mandatory to study the evolution of matter and the origin of the brain. It turned out that matter from its onset is pervaded by geometry and that the brain is also a prisoner of this ordered construction. Moreover, the brain is capable of altering the body geometry and the geometry of the environment changes the brain. Nothing spectacular occurred when the brain arrived in evolution. Not only it came after the eye, which had already established itself long ago, but it had a modest origin. It started from sensory cells on the skin that later aggregated into clusters of neurons that formed ganglia. It also became evident that pigment cells, that decide the establishment of the body pattern, originate from the same cell population as neurons (the neural crest cells). This is a most revealing result because it throws light on the power that the brain has to rapidly redirect the coloration of the body and to change its pattern. Recent experiments demonstrate how the brain changes the body geometry at will and within seconds, an event that could be hardly conceived earlier. Moreover, this change is not accidental it is related to the surrounding environment and is also used as a mating strategy. Chameleons know how to do it as well as flat fishes and octopuses. No one would have dared to think that the brain had its own geometry. How could the external geometry of solids or other figures of our environment be apprehended by neurons if these had no architecture of their own? Astonishing was that the so called ”simple cells”, in the neurons of the primary visual cortex, responded to a bar of light with an axis of orientation that corresponded to the axis of the cell’s receptive field. We tend to consider our brain a reliable organ. But how reliable is it? From the beginning the brain is obliged to transform reality. Brain imagery involves: form, color, motion and sleep. Unintentionally these results led to unexpected philosophical implications. Plato’s pivotal concept that ”forms” exist independently of the material world is reversed. Atoms have been considered to be imaginary for 2,000 years but at present they can be photographed, one by one, with electron microscopes. The reason why geometry has led the way in this inquiry is due to the fact that where there is geometry there is utter simplicity coupled to rigorous order that underlies the phenomenon where it is recognized. Order allows variation but imposes at the same time a canalization that is patent in what we call evolution.
Category: Science

Chemical Evolution And The Origin Of Life

Author : Horst Rauchfuss
ISBN : 9783540788232
Genre : Nature
File Size : 50.97 MB
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How did life begin on the early Earth? We know that life today is driven by the universal laws of chemistry and physics. By applying these laws over the past ?fty years, en- mous progress has been made in understanding the molecular mechanisms that are the foundations of the living state. For instance, just a decade ago, the ?rst human genome was published, all three billion base pairs. Using X-ray diffraction data from crystals, we can see how an enzyme molecule or a photosynthetic reaction center steps through its catalytic function. We can even visualize a ribosome, central to all life, translate - netic information into a protein. And we are just beginning to understand how molecular interactions regulate thousands of simultaneous reactions that continuously occur even in the simplest forms of life. New words have appeared that give a sense of this wealth of knowledge: The genome, the proteome, the metabolome, the interactome. But we can’t be too smug. We must avoid the mistake of the physicist who, as the twentieth century began, stated con?dently that we knew all there was to know about physics, that science just needed to clean up a few dusty corners. Then came relativity, quantum theory, the Big Bang, and now dark matter, dark energy and string theory. Similarly in the life sciences, the more we learn, the better we understand how little we really know. There remains a vast landscape to explore, with great questions remaining.
Category: Nature

First Steps In The Origin Of Life In The Universe

Author : Julian Chela-Flores
ISBN : 1402000774
Genre : Science
File Size : 25.55 MB
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The general topic of this volume concerns the origin, evolution, distribution, and destiny of life in the Universe. Firstly, it discusses the transition from inert matter to cellular life and its evolution to fully developed intelligent beings, and also the possibility of life occurring elsewhere, particularly in other environments in our own and other solar systems. Secondly, the book explores the role that space missions may play in obtaining further insight into the question of the origin of life. Reviews are included of the research for microorganisms in the solar system and the well-established project for the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. The present work is much broader in its scope than in previous conferences: over one hundred leading scientists have reviewed the entire range of subjects dealt with in these sixty-nine papers. Audience: This book is aimed at advanced students, as well as researchers, in the many areas of basic, earth, and life sciences that contribute to the study of the first steps in the origin of life.
Category: Science

Comets And Their Origin

Author : Uwe Meierhenrich
ISBN : 9783527412785
Genre : Science
File Size : 72.15 MB
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Divided into two parts, the first four chapters of Comets and their Origin refer to comets and their formation in general, describing cometary missions, comet remote observations, astrochemistry, artificial comets, and the chirality phenomenon. The second part covers the cometary ROSETTA mission, its launch, journey, scientific objectives, and instrumentations, as well as the landing scenario on a cometary nucleus. Along the way, the author presents general questions concerning the origin of terrestrial water and the molecular beginnings of life on Earth, as well as how the instruments used on a space mission like ROSETTA can help answer them. The text concludes with a chapter on what scientists expect from the ROSETTA mission and how its data will influence our life on Earth. As a result, the author elucidates highly topical and fascinating knowledge to scientists and students of various scientific backgrounds, allowing them to work with ROSETTA's data.
Category: Science

Molecular Models Of Life

Author : Sahotra Sarkar
ISBN : 0262264730
Genre : Science
File Size : 51.89 MB
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Despite the transformation in biological practice and theory brought about by discoveries in molecular biology, until recently philosophy of biology continued to focus on evolutionary biology. When the Human Genome Project got underway in the late 1980s and early 1990s, philosophers of biology—unlike historians and social scientists—had little to add to the debate. In this landmark collection of essays, Sahotra Sarkar broadens the scope of current discussions of the philosophy of biology, viewing molecular biology as a unifying perspective on life that complements that of evolutionary biology. His focus is on molecular biology, but the overriding question behind these papers is what molecular biology contributes to all traditional areas of biological research.Molecular biology—described with some foresight in a 1938 Rockefeller Foundation report as a branch of science in which "delicate modern techniques are being used to investigate ever more minute details"—and its modeling strategies apparently argue in favor of physical reductionism. Sarkar's first three chapters explore reductionism—defending it, but cautioning that reduction to molecular interactions is not necessarily a reduction to genetics (and does not support the claims of either heriditarianism or environmentalism). The next sections of the book discuss function, exploring how functional explanations pose a problem for reductionism; the informational interpretation of biology and how it interacts with reductionism; and the tension between the unifying framework of molecular biology and the received framework of evolutionary theory. The concluding chapter is an essay in the emerging field of developmental evolution, exploring what molecular biology may contribute to the transformation of evolutionary theory as evolutionary theory takes into account morphogenetic development.
Category: Science

Origin Of Group Identity

Author : Luis P. Villarreal
ISBN : 0387779981
Genre : Science
File Size : 79.44 MB
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A sense of belonging is basic to the human experience. But in this, humans are not unique. Essentially all life, from bacteria to humans, have ways by which it determines which members belong and which do not. This is a basic cooperative nature of life I call group membership which is examined in this book. However, cooperation of living things is not easily accounted for by current theory of evolutionary biology and yet even viruses display group membership. That viruses have this feature would likely seem coincidental or irrelevant to most scientist as having any possible relationship to human group identity. Surely such simple molecular-based relationships between viruses are unrelated to the complex cognitive and emotional nature of human group membership. Yet viruses clearly affect bacterial group membership, which are the most diverse and abundant cellular life form on Earth and from which all life has evolved. Viruses are the most ancient, numerous and adaptable biological entities we know. And we have long recognized them for the harm and disease they can cause, and they have been responsible for the greatest numbers of human deaths. However, with the sequencing of entire genomes and more recently with the shotgun sequencings of habitats, we have come to realize viruses are the black hole of biology; a giant force that has until recently been largely unseen and historically ignored by evolutionary biology. Viruses not only can cause acute disease, but also persist as stable unseen agents in their host.
Category: Science