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Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life

by Nick Lane
New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 354 pages.

From the publisher: "Power, Sex, Suicide, Complexity, Individuality, Fertility, Prehistory, Ageing, Death. These universal themes are all linked by mitochondria — the tiny structures located inside our cells — miniature powerhouses that use oxygen to generate power. ... Once considered menial slaves, mere workhorses for complex cells with nuclei, their significance is now undergoing a radical revision. Mitochondria are now seen as the key ingredient that made complex life possible at all. ...

Frogs, Flies, and Dandelions

by Menno Schilthuizen
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. 254 pages.

In Frogs, Flies, and Dandelions, Menno Schilthuizen provides a lively and accessible introduction to contemporary controversies over modes of speciation, arguing in the process for the validity of sympatric speciation (a position taken by Darwin himself, but widely rejected nowadays). Reviewing the book in RNCSE (2003 Jan/Feb; 23 [1]: 37-8), John Wilkins wrote, "The arguments are presented in this book with as much attention to detail — and to both the biology and the personalities — as any book I have even seen.

The Beak of the Finch

by Jonathan Weiner
New York: Vintage Books, 1994. 352 pages.

From the publisher: "On a desert island in the heart of the Galápagos archipelago, where Darwin received his first inklings of the theory of evolution, two scientists, Peter and Rosemary Grant, have spent twenty years proving that Darwin did not know the strength of his own theory.

Endless Forms Most Beautiful

by Sean B. Carroll
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2006. 350 pages.

One of the principal architects of evolutionary developmental biology ("evo devo"), Sean B. Carroll is the ideal guide — informed, chatty, and witty — to what's often described as "the third revolution" in evolutionary biology. The reviewer for American Scientist wrote, "Carroll has brilliantly achieved what he set out to do ... Evo devo is fundamental to understanding the biological world we live in, including ourselves.

Science, Evolution, and Creationism

from The National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine
Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2007. 88 pages.

Designed to give the public a comprehensive and up-to-date picture of the current scientific understanding of evolution and its importance in the science classroom, Science, Evolution, and Creationism is twice as long as the second edition (published in 1999 as Science and Creationism), and teems with new examples of the predictive power and practical importance of evolution.

The Variety of Life

by Colin Tudge
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. 704 pages.

"[A]n eye for classification is a constant reminder that nothing on this planet is as homely as it seems — there are several thousand million years of evolutionary drama behind everything that moves and breathes," Colin Tudge explains in The Variety of Life, which provides both a primer on systematics and (in the words of the book's subtitle) a survey and a celebration of all the creatures that have ever lived.


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