The Organic Codes: An Introduction to Semantic Biology / Edition 1

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Asserting that there are many more organic codes in nature than just the genetic code, Marcello Barbieri states that the existence of these codes and their corresponding organic memories can be used to explain the key steps in the evolutionary history of life. With major events corresponding to the appearance of new codes, the organic codes and their corresponding organic memories can also shed new light on the problems of epigenesis and how embryos generate their own complexity.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The text of Barbieri's book is clear and very enjoyable to read...introduc[ing] relevant and challenging ideas to the body of thought of biologists and of other science readers..." Genetics and Molecular Biology
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521531009
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 316
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Professor Barbieri is based in the Department of Morphology and Embryology at the University of Ferrara, Italy.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Ch. 1 The microscope and the cell 9
The cell theory 10
The problem of generation 12
The problem of embryonic development 15
The two versions of the cell theory 17
Mechanism 19
The chemical machine 21
The computer model 24
The autopoietic cell 27
The epigenetic cell 29
Ch. 2 Theories of evolution 33
Traditional biology 34
Lamarck's contribution 36
Darwin's bet 38
Natural selection 40
Organs of extreme perfection 41
Common descent 44
The second mechanism of evolution 49
The Modern Synthesis 51
Molecular evolution 54
The third mechanism of evolution 57
Macroevolution 60
Where is biology going to? 63
Ch. 3 A new model for biology 67
The logic of embryonic development 67
Reconstructions from incomplete projections 69
A memory-building approach 71
The algebraic method 75
The theoretical limit 79
ART: an iterative algebraic method 80
The memory matrix 82
Density modulation 84
MRM: the family of memory algorithms 86
The two general principles of MRM 89
Ch. 4 Organic codes and organic memories 93
The characteristics of codes 93
The organic codes' fingerprints 96
The bridge between genes and organism 99
The splicing codes 101
The signal transduction codes 105
Contextual information 111
Determination and cell memory 112
The other face of pattern 114
Hints from developing neurons 117
The key structures of embryonic development 119
Ch. 5 The origin of life 121
The primitive Earth 122
Chemical evolution 127
Postchemical evolution 129
The metabolism paradigm 131
The replication paradigm 134
The RNA world 138
Replication catastrophes 140
Eigen's paradox 142
The ribotype theory 145
The genetic code 148
Evolution of the code 155
The ribotype metaphor 157
Copymakers and codemakers 159
The handicapped replicator 161
Ch. 6 Prokaryotes and eukaryotes 163
The potassium world 164
Two forms of life 166
Three primary kingdoms 168
The last common ancestor 173
The origins of bacteria 175
The cytoskeleton 178
The compartments 180
Chromosomes 182
The seven kingdoms 185
Three thousand million years 187
Ch. 7 The Cambrian explosion 191
The fossil record 192
The experimental data 193
Body plans and phylotypic stages 196
The traditional explanations 201
The Cambrian singularity 202
The stumbling-block 203
The reconstruction model 204
Multicellular structures 206
Biological memories 209
A new model of the Cambrian explosion 210
The conservation of the phylotypic stage 213
Ch. 8 Semantic biology 217
The semantic theory of the cell 219
The semantic theory of embryonic development 221
The mind problem 224
The semantic theory of mental development 226
Artifacts and natural selection 228
The semantic theory of evolution 229
About organic codes 234
The language model 236
The Individuality Thesis 237
The development of semantic biology 240
Ch. 9 A brief summary 243
The first principle 244
The second principle 245
The third principle 246
The fourth principle 247
The first model 248
The second model 249
The third model 250
The fourth model 251
Conclusion 253
App Definitions of life 255
Afterword 265
References 279
Index 295
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