You are previewing The Logic of Chance: The Nature and Origin of Biological Evolution.
O'Reilly logo
The Logic of Chance: The Nature and Origin of Biological Evolution

Book Description

The Logic of Chance offers a reappraisal and a new synthesis of theories, concepts, and hypotheses on the key aspects of the evolution of life on earth in light of comparative genomics and systems biology. The author presents many specific examples from systems and comparative genomic analysis to begin to build a new, much more detailed, complex, and realistic picture of evolution. The book examines a broad range of topics in evolutionary biology including  the inadequacy of natural selection and adaptation as the only or even the main mode of evolution; the key role of horizontal gene transfer in evolution and the consequent overhaul of the Tree of Life concept;  the central, underappreciated evolutionary importance of viruses; the origin of eukaryotes as a result of endosymbiosis; the concomitant origin of cells and viruses on the primordial earth; universal dependences between genomic and molecular-phenomic variables; and the evolving landscape of constraints that shape the evolution of genomes and molecular phenomes.

"Koonin's account of viral and pre-eukaryotic evolution is undoubtedly up-to-date. His "mega views" of evolution (given what was said above) and his cosmological musings, on the other hand, are interesting reading." Summing Up: Recommended

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE, copyright by the American Library Association.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Copyright Page
  3. Contents
  4. Preface: Toward a postmodern synthesis of evolutionary biology
  5. 1. The fundamentals of evolution: Darwin and Modern Synthesis
  6. 2. From Modern Synthesis to evolutionary genomics: Multiple processes and patterns of evolution
  7. 3. Comparative genomics: Evolving genomescapes
  8. 4. Genomics, systems biology, and universals of evolution: Genome evolution as a phenomenon of statistical physics
  9. 5. The web genomics of the prokaryotic world: Vertical and horizontal flows of genes, the mobilome, and the dynamic pangenomes
  10. 6. The phylogenetic forest and the quest for the elusive Tree of Life in the age of genomics
  11. 7. The origins of eukaryotes: Endosymbiosis, the strange story of introns, and the ultimate importance of unique events in evolution
  12. 8. The non-adaptive null hypothesis of genome evolution and origins of biological complexity
  13. 9. The Darwinian, Lamarckian, and Wrightean modalities of evolution, robustness, evolvability, and the creative role of noise in evolution
  14. 10. The Virus World and its evolution
  15. 11. The Last Universal Common Ancestor, the origin of cells, and the primordial gene pool
  16. 12. Origin of life: The emergence of translation, replication, metabolism, and membranes—the biological, geochemical, and cosmological perspectives
  17. 13. The postmodern state of evolutionary biology
  18. A. Postmodernist philosophy, metanarratives, and the nature and goals of the scientific endeavor
  19. B. Evolution of the cosmos and life: Eternal inflation, “many worlds in one,” anthropic selection, and a rough estimate of the probability of the origin of life
  20. References
  21. Endnotes
  22. Acknowledgments
  23. About the author
  24. Index