The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution [NOOK Book]

Overview

DNA evidence not only solves crimes—in Sean Carroll's hands it will now end the Evolution Wars.


DNA, the genetic blueprint of all creatures, is a stunningly rich and detailed record of evolution. Every change or new trait, from the gaudy colors of tropical birds to our color vision with which we admire them, is due to changes in DNA that leave a record and can be traced. Just as importantly, the DNA evidence has revealed several profound ...

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The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution

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Overview

DNA evidence not only solves crimes—in Sean Carroll's hands it will now end the Evolution Wars.


DNA, the genetic blueprint of all creatures, is a stunningly rich and detailed record of evolution. Every change or new trait, from the gaudy colors of tropical birds to our color vision with which we admire them, is due to changes in DNA that leave a record and can be traced. Just as importantly, the DNA evidence has revealed several profound surprises about how evolution actually works.

This history of DNA offers listeners a tour of the massive DNA record of three billion years of evolution to see how the fittest are made. This work clinches the case for evolution as it examines immortal genes, fossil genes, and genes that bear the scars of past battles with horrible diseases. Unabridged. 1 MP3 CD.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
DNA, the genetic material that defines us all, is a microscopic history book waiting to be read. University of Wisconsin genetics professor Sean B. Carroll and many of his colleagues are confident that this vibrant chronicle can reveal the incremental unfolding of life on our planet over the past 3 billion years. His DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution leads readers on a worldwide tour of the genes that we have left behind. A compelling scientific narrative; a fascinating addition to the debates over evolution.
Steve Olson
Carroll is an adept and wide-ranging writer. His narrative hopscotches from the Antarctic Ocean to Yellowstone National Park to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia to the Costa Rican rain forest. Even when he tells a well-known story in evolutionary biology, such as the linking of sickle cell anemia to malaria, Carroll finds a new way to tell it. One chapter begins, "It is rumored that the most common last words humans utter are, 'Hey, hold my beer and watch this!' " Reading The Making of the Fittest is like spending a few hours with an extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic dinner companion.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Picking up where scientists like Richard Dawkins have left off, Carroll, a professor of genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo-Devo), has written a fast-paced look at how DNA demonstrates the evolutionary process. Natural selection eliminates harmful changes and embraces beneficial ones, and each change leaves its signature on a species' DNA codes. For example, the Antarctic ice fish today has no red blood cells; yet a fossilized gene for hemoglobin remains in its DNA, showing that the fish has adapted over 55 million years by losing the red blood cells that thicken blood and make it harder to pump in extreme cold. The fish has developed other features that allow it to absorb and circulate blood without hemoglobin. . Carroll points out that by examining the DNA of these ice fish species, it's possible to map its origins as well as the history of the South Atlantic's geology. He also uses dolphins, colobus monkeys and microbes to demonstrate how deeply evolution is etched in DNA. While searches for the genetic basis for evolution are hardly new, Carroll offers some provocative and convincing evidence. 7 pages of color illus.; 50 b&w illus. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Leading geneticist Carroll (genetics, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison; Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo-Devo), an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, presents new discoveries gathered from DNA evidence that confirm Charles Darwin's theory of evolution "beyond any reasonable doubt." Over the last two decades, biologists have mined the DNA record for insights into how species have evolved on the planet. These biologists have proved that every evolutionary change in each individual species involves specific changes in the DNA record that enable species to adapt to diverse habitats and "evolve new lifestyles." Readers will gain insight into the evolutionary process and expand their knowledge of how the "fittest" species were made, from fish that live in subfreezing water to birds that communicate via ultraviolet colors. According to Carroll, these new discoveries demolish the major arguments against biological evolution as promulgated by antievolutionists. Students and teachers of biology will particularly benefit from his readable treatment of the evolutionary process. An essential addition to every school, public, and academic library. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/06.] Victoria Shelton, George Mason Univ. Libs., Manassas, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Those who know Lawlor's other readings will again be amazed at his proficiency.... Challenging and rewarding." —-AudioFile
Ira Flatow - NPR "Science Friday"
“I recommend [The Making of the Fittest] to everybody who wants to understand more [about evolution], because it is written in such simple yet detailed language.... Quite a pleasure to read.”
Dan Vergano - USA Today
“The rare scientist with an easygoing writing style.”
SEED
“The best refutation of intelligent design.”
Steve Olson - Washington Post
“An adept and wide-ranging writer.”
Brian Charlesworth - Nature
“Excellent.... Carroll's book will certainly help the public to understand evolution more clearly.”
Josie Glausiusz - Discover
“With fervor and clarity, Carroll amasses a glut of facts to refute the twisted logic of the anti-Darwinist camp.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393069693
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/17/2007
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 117,379
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Sean B. Carroll is professor of genetics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His first book, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, was a finalist for the 2005 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Carroll’s seminal scientific work has been featured in Time and The New Yorker. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
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Table of Contents


Preface: Beyond Any Reasonable Doubt     13
Introduction: The Bloodless Fish of Bouvet Island     19
The Everyday Math of Evolution: Chance, Selection, and Time     41
Immortal Genes: Running in Place for Eons     69
Making the New from the Old     91
Fossil Genes: Broken Pieces of Yesterday's Life     117
Deja Vu: How and Why Evolution Repeats Itself     139
Our Flesh and Blood: Arms Races, the Human Race, and Natural Selection     153
The Making and Evolution of Complexity     189
Seeing and Believing     215
The Palm Trees of Wyoming     249
Sources and Further Reading     269
Acknowledgments     285
Index     287
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Evolution at the level of DNA and the gene

    Carroll is understandably touchy about creationism, or intelligent design or whatever other euphemism is in fashion now. This book, read in tandem with "Endless Forms Most Beautiful", throws one monkey wrench after another into faith-based dogma. Not with a leer and a sneer as other noted scholars do. But with information and logic. I was already very familiar with Stephen J. Gould's collection of works, but these two books take the "macro-paleo" of those older works in a new and very illuminating direction: down into the DNA and the gene. Into the mechanics of evolution at the scale of the cell. In exquisite detail, Carroll builds up the apparatus of DNA, the layers of genetic functions, the cascade that actually generates species, and does it clearly and beautifully, without the stuffy academic tones common to this genre of books. Carroll isn't as graceful a writer as some, but the depth and detail of his insights will make you forget that.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 3, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Dr. Carroll is a well-respected biologist and a contemporary Dar

    Dr. Carroll is a well-respected biologist and a contemporary Darwin scholar.

    He shares his original insights and connects them to the latest research in evolutionary biology.

    The book will anger some conservative Christians. It will also frustrate many chiropractors, and well as the occasional Soviet communist.

    The tone is a bit arrogant, but the explanations of the DNA record are clear and accessible for anyone with a knowledge of high school biology and genetics.

    The story moves more briskly and clearly than I thought possible.

    If you’re interested in learning more about the evidence behind Darwinian evolution, you need to read this book. I particularly enjoyed reading about the ice fish, an animal completely free of red blood cells. You’ll find a favorite anecdote or two as well.

    I give it my highest recommendation!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 14, 2012

    Clear, readable discussion of DNA science

    An excellent introduction to how DNA is used to derive the history of evolution of species. The exposition is clear, and th author makes understandable some potentially difficult material. I strongly recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2011

    Best overall book on evolution

    This book does a fantastic job of giving evidence for evolution while not shoving a liberal agenda down your throat. The example are fascinating and makes you look at the world in a brand new way. I even had my high school biology students read this as their honors project!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2008

    My favorite book

    When asked by friends to suggest a book about evolution/science or to identify my favorite book, this is the book I tell them about.

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