Regular price: $19.59
Buy Now with 1 Credit
Buy Now for $19.59
Life is robust and its neutral states provide for easier suitability for overall fitness within environments leading to the fittest set of genes. Yes, that sentence is a mouthful but the author will step you through all of the steps necessary for understanding what is meant by it.
The author looks at life from its beginning to today mostly at the genotype and the resulting phenotype level. The going does get tough at times, but the author is very good at stepping the listener through. He states the two key components of life are its universal currency of energy, ATP, and the Universal Genetic Code, DNA and/or RNA.
He never misses sharing a good example while explaining the complex nature of amino acids, proteins, and metabolisms (5000 known). I didn't know dogs can synthesize vitamin C and humans can't. We need 13 vitamins, there are 20 amino acids making up the proteins we need, the body can synthesize 12 of them but needs 8 from our food sources and so on. I did not realize there were so many cool things to know about bacteria until he explained how they exchange genes and reproduce. Interesting stuff.
His professional work is in analyzing the movement necessary for viable genomes giving workable phenotypes through large scale computer modeling. He talks about this hyperspace of almost all potential combinations and how the process of evolution can move towards only viable solutions to biological configurations thus leading to the fittest.
There's definitely enough interesting things in this book to hook the average listener. His discussions on hyperspace and his computer work can get detailed, but he gives plenty of interesting discussions on many related topics making this book an interesting read.
44 of 44 people found this review helpful
The book focuses on the biochemical mechanisms that drive and sustain life. If you're interested in getting beyond a Jurassic Park understanding of DNA as life's code and want to explore how DNA and the rest of life's molecules interact and replicate, this book is worth a listen.
It can be slow going on audio. The author necessarily builds large, complex analogies for explaining molecular interactions. If you become distracted, let your mind wander, or stop and start the audio throughout the day or week, it's relatively easy to lose the author's argument. The narrator presents the text at a methodical pace that draws out these sections even more.
I have a decent background knowledge of biochemistry and genetics, but I think the text is a little technical without this background. There are a fair number of examples, and historical anecdotes, but much of the book felt like a dressed down textbook on the current state of biochemistry. That might be exactly what you're looking for, but if you want a more relaxed take on evolution, genetics and development, one of the Great Courses on the Origin of Life or Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin might be a better place to start. Then come back to this book with that background.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful