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The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and…
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The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life (original 2015; udgave 2015)

af Nick Lane

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
4631741,855 (4.29)4
The Earth teems with life: in its oceans, forests, skies and cities. Yet there's a black hole at the heart of biology. We do not know why complex life is the way it is, or, for that matter, how life first began. In The Vital Question, award-winning author and biochemist Nick Lane radically reframes evolutionary history, putting forward a solution to conundrums that have puzzled generations of scientists.For two and a half billion years, from the very origins of life, single-celled organisms such as bacteria evolved without changing their basic form. Then, on just one occasion in four billion years, they made the jump to complexity. All complex life, from mushrooms to man, shares puzzling features, such as sex, which are unknown in bacteria. How and why did this radical transformation happen?The answer, Lane argues, lies in energy: all life on Earth lives off a voltage with the strength of a lightning bolt. Building on the pillars of evolutionary theory, Lane's hypothesis draws on cutting-edge research into the link between energy and cell biology, in order to deliver a compelling account of evolution from the very origins of life to the emergence of multicellular organisms, while offering deep insights into our own lives and deaths.Both rigorous and enchanting, The Vital Question provides a solution to life's vital question: why are we as we are, and indeed, why are we here at all?… (mere)
Medlem:jsanfil
Titel:The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life
Forfattere:Nick Lane
Info:W. W. Norton & Company, Kindle Edition, 369 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:*****
Nøgleord:Ingen

Work Information

The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life af Nick Lane (2015)

  1. 00
    In Search of Cell History: The Evolution of Life's Building Blocks af Franklin M. Harold (stellarexplorer)
    stellarexplorer: These are complementary books, Lane more focused on energetics and Harold on cellular evolution.
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Viser 1-5 af 17 (næste | vis alle)
Lane simply “forgot” Margulis’ work?? What the hell?It’s all Martin this and Martin that! Is this what pop-science has come to??

Reading this in 2020 after the "discovery" of Phosphorus on Venus I might add Soviet probes found P2O6 in atmosphere, that oxidation level phosphorus can produce PxHy more or less directly. Then one has to consider things like seasonal variability in atmosphere of Venus (not really orbital seasons, more like solar cycle seasons), something also can act as phosphorus III buffer accumulating it in upper atmosphere and then releasing phosphines periodically making concentration spikes, there's potentially a lot of interesting mechanisms to be aware of. I'm of course super excited for it to be the real biological thing, but phosphines there is a kind of weak biosignature.

During a scientific study carried out in 2019 at the Kidd Mine in Canada an organism was discovered over 2 Km below the surface that breathes sulfur and eats rocks as its regular food source. It joined a growing list of 'extremophiles', microorganisms that live in extreme conditions and suggests to me two likely scenarios. Either the universe is teaming with life of one outrageous kind or another or life is confined to a single, mediocre little planet and is in serious danger of extinction because one particular form of life isn't as smart as it thinks it is.

Only if you do an ostrich act and keep your head in the sand about all the politicians, military personnel, and whistle blowers who have given overwhelming evidence that aliens not only exist but have been captured and their tech reverse engineered to the point where half of what is seen in the skies now is ours, not theirs. Kennedy was assassinated one week after he ordered the spooks to release all the UFO files and collaborate with the Soviets on space tech. He was mentored by James Forestal, the first US defense secretary, who also wanted to release the UFO files. He developed an alleged sudden illness and was cooped up in the top floor of a building and not allowed to see his family. His body was found on the road outside. He allegedly killed himself, like others who wanted the truth out there. There! I can do a Lane act as well, but I’m not bashing anyone (only Lane...lol)! ( )
  antao | Nov 29, 2020 |
An interesting book, but this is absolutely not for the newbie. While the descriptions are good and the science is interesting I found myself deep in the world of molecular biology, and no matter how good the writer, that's a place only for those who consider "ribosome" and mitochondria basic terminology.

Overall the book is a little slow, the author has a tendency to drag things out, and while it's interesting and much of it is a new or more indepth for me (BS Biology, DVM, moderately well read on science), it did often read that the author was giving more weight to his beliefs because they were his beliefs (shocker) while tossing outside other ideas still considered widely possible as we wade through life and learn along the way. Definitely not a book to read if you're looking for an unbiased take on what's out there in the field. There is a good references section, etc., so readers can do their own reading.

Overall an interesting book, I learned lots of interesting tidbits, but slow, such that I often skimmed to the next interesting factoid. ( )
  lclclauren | Sep 12, 2020 |
This is a nicely written science book for intelligent people. No interviews or fashion commentary. Lane examines the fundamental requirement of life, namely energy. The starts off with examining what life and living is and then takes a look at how (and where) the first cells possibly evolved. Many hypotheses are examined, discarded or elaborated upon. Lane also takes cell evolution further by examining the evolution of complex cells, why most eukaryotes have two different sexes, how cells die, what powers a cell, and a host of other interesting goodies. There is a fair amount of physics, biochemistry and chemistry in this book, along with several illustrations and diagrams. Lane tends to be a bit repetitive, but with a complex subject like this, it probably helps to recap previous points. This is a fascinating book that makes a great addition to his previous book Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life. ( )
  ElentarriLT | Mar 24, 2020 |
Impressive review of the latest ideas on how cells really work, and why energy is vital. The author is a scientist who believes Eukaryotic life is extremely rare in the Universe, that it probably only appeared once on Earth.

While full of rich detail, most people will find it too technical. ( )
  richardSprague | Mar 22, 2020 |
Superbly readable book that delves deep into the structures of life. I have no background in Biology, but with a little bit of re-reading managed to make sense of this treasure trove of information. Fascinating stuff. ( )
  expatscot | Dec 9, 2019 |
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The Earth teems with life: in its oceans, forests, skies and cities. Yet there's a black hole at the heart of biology. We do not know why complex life is the way it is, or, for that matter, how life first began. In The Vital Question, award-winning author and biochemist Nick Lane radically reframes evolutionary history, putting forward a solution to conundrums that have puzzled generations of scientists.For two and a half billion years, from the very origins of life, single-celled organisms such as bacteria evolved without changing their basic form. Then, on just one occasion in four billion years, they made the jump to complexity. All complex life, from mushrooms to man, shares puzzling features, such as sex, which are unknown in bacteria. How and why did this radical transformation happen?The answer, Lane argues, lies in energy: all life on Earth lives off a voltage with the strength of a lightning bolt. Building on the pillars of evolutionary theory, Lane's hypothesis draws on cutting-edge research into the link between energy and cell biology, in order to deliver a compelling account of evolution from the very origins of life to the emergence of multicellular organisms, while offering deep insights into our own lives and deaths.Both rigorous and enchanting, The Vital Question provides a solution to life's vital question: why are we as we are, and indeed, why are we here at all?

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