Life Ascending

I’ve just read Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution by Nick Lane.  It is nothing to do with inventions of course, everything it talks about emerged via natural selection … and it is that that is the most fascinating part of the book.  For example, I sort of knew that chloroplasts that are responsible for photosynthesis were bacteria that had got caught in plant cells, but I didn’t realise that the mitochondria that power our cells were similarly captured bacteria – a stupendously fortunate accident, but an accident nonetheless.  The chapter on Eukaryotic cells (the complex ones that we have rather than the simple ones that bacteria have) was superb. And, the discussion on DNA and how cells might have evolved really got me thinking (it involves small cell like spaces in rocks.  Really).

I know it sounds nerdy, but it was one of the most informative and enjoyable book I have read in years.  Try it – you’ll like it.

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