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Publishers WeeklyIn this seamless translation, author and French biology professor Morange (The Misunderstood Gene) addresses the question "What is life?" by looking at answers from Aristotle to the atomic age and "bringing out the various points of agreement and contradiction hidden among them." After addressing definitions of life proposed by others, Morange outlines "three essential characteristics" of life: reproductive ability, complex molecular structures and the metabolic replication of those structures. From there, Morange discusses a range of current inquiries, among them astrobiology research, genome studies and adaptation in extreme conditions. An informative and engaging tour of life, and our understanding of it, as a process "perpetually being transformed," this title should appeal to the more serious of armchair philosopher-scientists.
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