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Life from an RNA World: The Ancestor Within

by Michael Yarus
Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press, 2010. 208 pages.

“Yarus takes on an ambitious task,” reviewer Arthur G. Hunt explains, “to summarize the excitement and curiosity of RNA research for a broad audience that includes the informed lay public as well as life scientists. On top of this, he is faced with the unenviable but inescapable task of explaining some of the fastest-moving and -changing areas in science. But Yarus succeeds in explaining the remarkable nature of RNA, and how this singular molecule ties together the present and the very distant past.” A chapter addressing creationist objections to the RNA world and evolution in general is interesting but not as informative as treatments elsewhere.