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Life Without Genes Paperback – 18 Sep 2000

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo; New Ed edition (18 Sept. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006548741
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006548744
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 2.5 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,971,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

If life started with genes, then hominid tool making may as well have started with the Model T Ford. Genetic processes are too sophisticated to have arisen spontaneously. So how did we come to be? Where must we look in our search for the beginnings of life? Adrian Woolfson is less interested in examining every theory than in exploring and explaining the whole notion of self-organisation: how the simplest self-organisers--the droplet of fat, say, that adopts a spherical shape in water--might give rise to living complexities. On the way, he offers a lucid and entertaining account of genetic processes, their importance--and their limitations--in making us what we are. Woolfson takes a mathematical approach to his subject. From a mathematical perspective, "living creatures are symbols which stand for their underlying mathematical edifices". So far, so dry: but Woolfson leaves us in no doubt as to what this implies: " ... packed alongside the small collection of crocodile gene kit boxes that have ... experienced the thrill of life and tasted blood ... is a much larger collection ... Crocodiles the size of tadpoles, winged crocodiles, tree-climbing crocodiles or crocodiles with elephant tusks and tiger stripes." Might DNA and genetic processes themselves be superseded? Woolfson's account ends on a speculative note. Life Without Genes is ground-up explanation of the first water. From Airfix kit-inspired, just-so stories to lucid descriptions of the work of the mathematician Ilya Prigogine, Woolfson is a virtuoso in full command of extraordinary material. --Simon Ings


Bringing together the latest insights from genetics and cyberculture, this book contends that all life can be conceived of as information. It explores future developments in genetics, both as a consequence of Darwinian natural selection and under the influence of genetic engineering. The ideas are illustrated by writing that draws on a range of surreal examples including hypermarkets containing every toy in the universe, pufferfish that think like flies, Peter Pan-like trips through human genes and creatures that evolve in months and not millennia. It argues that the future will be dominated by biological machines evolved artificially by a process of accelerated evolution which is called "evolution compression".

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20 August 2003
Format: Paperback
One person found this helpful
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25 April 2001
Format: Paperback
3 people found this helpful
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12 September 2003
Format: Hardcover
3 people found this helpful
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Most helpful customer reviews on 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 reviews
Reader from Brighton
5.0 out of 5 starsPublished Book Reviews For Life Without Genes
5 August 2016 - Published on
Format: Hardcover

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