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Seed to Seed: The Secret Life of Plants Hardcover – 3 Apr 2006


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (3 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747570396
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747570394
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.2 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,175,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

`A bravura performance ... It's a privilege to watch a subtle and
daring mind at work ... and to glimpse, from so many angles, a scientist at
work in the world' -- Jenny Uglow, Sunday Times

`Natural History in its purest form. A botanical masterpiece in
miniature' -- David Bellamy

`Possessed of a perceptive eye and a fine turn of phrase, Harberd
has written a classic' -- New Scientist

`Tracing the lifespan of a weed, both in the wild and in a
laboratory, makes enthralling reading ... Brilliantly written' -- Penelope Hobhouse

`What Harberd's book gives us clueless amateurs is a huge sense of
awe at the extraordinary and brilliant machinery that regulates plant
growth' -- Anna Pavord, Independent --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

The first book to combine poetic description of the natural
world in the style of Gilbert White or Dorothy Wordsworth with the
scientist's mission to reveal the secret life of plants --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. Anthony on 1 April 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an inspiring mixture of a gentle nature diary and an introduction to the molecular biology of the Thale Cress plant [Arabidopsis]. This rather unassuming little plant has become the 'tool' of those trying to understand plant growth and its regulation. This is written for the layman by a very distinguished scientist. It should also be required reading for all young plant scientists, as he illustrates so well the joys and frustrations of actually doing the science.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on 4 Dec 2006
Format: Hardcover
Completing a research project and polishing off a journal paper left Nicholas Harberd at loose ends. While casting about for a new project, he struck out on a new course. It is good for us that he did. His quest led him to reflect on Nature's mysterious ways in terms that turned him away from his laboratory work to seek fresh insights. Many years of study of the thale-cress, a humble-looking but informative little plant, had provided much detailed information. Harberd, finding a thale-cress atop a grave in a church cemetery, began considering the plant in a fresh view. He developed a broader vision by studying it in Nature instead of his laboratory.

As the notes progress, Harberd describes the processes involved in the plant's growth and development. He explains how the leaves bud, then expand, each new leaf set 137 degrees away from its neighbour. The angle is a mystery, but many plants make rosettes of leaves, each with their own separation formula. The core of plant is the meristem, and there are two of these in each plant - one for roots and one for the shoot. There are genetic triggers launching the growth process. Harberd explains how these work and, as far as is known, how they interact. The plant, all plants apparently, start with a set of proteins, the DELLAs, that actually inhibit the growth process. He develops the scene with other genes and their proteins that "restrict restraint" allowing the plant to flourish - if the conditions are right.

This book is a reflection of his thoughts, dreams, research problems and other facets of his life and work. Harberd describes the conditions of each day of his note-taking, the weather, the other plants, the soil conditions.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By L. S. Smith on 20 Aug 2009
Format: Paperback
Nice book etc, etc, but it is rather like reading a someones diary. I found I couldn't finish it, just too much about day to day activity unfortunately. If you like reading about the daily grind of an academic working on Arabidopsis may be you'll enjoy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mrs Brown on 10 May 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is a fascinating combination of explanatory science book and a personal diary, giving an insight into how scientists think and reflect and move forward. At points it is a bit technical - but you are not going to be examined on it so just get the gist and move forward.

As I plant out my cosmos seedlings I look at them with new eyes and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys gardening and would like to understand more.

I see on the internet that the author is now at St John's College, Oxford.
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