Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226747767 Will Publish December 2020
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226747620 Will Publish December 2020
E-book $35.00 Available for pre-order. ISBN: 9780226747934 Will Publish December 2020

The Evolutionary Origins of Life and Death

Pierre M. Durand

The Evolutionary Origins of Life and Death

Pierre M. Durand

With a Foreword by Eugene V. Koonin
232 pages | 30 halftones, 3 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2020
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226747767 Will Publish December 2020
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226747620 Will Publish December 2020
E-book $35.00 ISBN: 9780226747934 Will Publish December 2020
The question of why an individual would actively kill itself has long been an evolutionary mystery. Pierre M. Durand’s ambitious book answers this question through close inspection of life and death in the earliest cellular life. As Durand shows us, cell death is a fascinating lens through which to examine the interconnectedness, in evolutionary terms, of life and death. It is a truism to note that one does not exist without the other, but just how does this play out in evolutionary history? 
 
These two processes have been studied from philosophical, theoretical, experimental, and genomic angles, but no one has yet integrated the information from these various disciplines. In this work, Durand synthesizes cellular studies of life and death looking at the origin of life and the evolutionary significance of programmed cellular death. The exciting and unexpected outcome of Durand’s analysis is the realization that life and death exhibit features of coevolution. The evolution of more complex cellular life depended on the coadaptation between traits that promote life and those that promote death. In an ironic twist, it becomes clear that, in many circumstances, programmed cell death is essential for sustaining life.
Contents
Foreword (by Eugene V. Koonin)
Preface
List of abbreviations

An introduction to the scientific study of life and death

Part One: The origin of life

1 Philosophical considerations and the origin of life
2 The biotic world
3 The theory of life’s origins
4 Life at the very beginning I: the chemistry of the first biomolecules
5 Life at the very beginning II: the emergence of complex RNA molecules
6 The origin of life was an evolutionary transition in individuality
7 A synthesis for the origin of life

Part Two: The origin of death

8 Philosophical considerations and the origin of death
9 Observations of death
10 Mechanisms and measures of programmed cell death in the unicellular world
11 True PCD: when PCD is an adaptation
12 Ersatz PCD: the non-adaptive explanations for PCD
13 Programmed cell death and the levels of selection
14 A synthesis for the origin of programmed cell death

Part Three: Origins of life and death, and their coevolution

15 Group selection and the origins of life and death
16 Life and death coevolution, and the emergence of complexity
 
Postface
Additional notes
Reference list
Index
Review Quotes
Eugene V. Koonin, National Center for Biotechnology Information, from the foreword
“An eye opener for many readers, biologists, and others interested in visiting the frontiers of today’s conceptual thinking on evolution. This book, compact and simple but densely packed with information and ideas, presents the new edifice of evolutionary biology, a vibrant, progressing field that goes far beyond the confines of neo-Darwinism.”
Michael Ruse, Florida State University
“There is no question that Durand is deeply learned. The way that he lays out his argument linking life and death is certainly innovative and I am sure will attract attention. Insightful and stimulating, The Evolutionary Origins of Life and Death will forward discussion on important issues.”
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