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Reticulate Evolution and Humans is the first book to describe the effect of genetic exchange on the origin and evolution of our own species as well as those species with which we have and continue to interact closely, both evolutionarily and culturally. After demonstrating how genetic exchange has affected H. Sapiens, the book goes on to describe how the same processes have structured the evolution of organisms on which the human species depends for shelter, sustenance and companionship. It also considers the "dark-side" of gene transfer as it pertains to the evolution and adaptation of human disease vectors and diseases.
The development of the central thesis of this book - that reticulate evolution via introgressive hybridization and lateral gene transfer has been a pervasive factor in the evolution and cultural development of H. sapiens, its ancestors, sister taxa and associated organisms - reveals the extent of these processes across the widest of taxonomic, temporal and spatial bounds. We cannot escape the conclusion that we are constantly fed, entertained, sheltered, attacked and killed by organisms that possess mosaic genomes reflective of widespread genetic exchange during evolutionary diversification.
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Michael Arnold is an evolutionary biologist with over 100 scientific articles to his credit. He is best known for the work produced by his group on the evolutionary role of natural hybridization - particularly relating to the plant group known as the Louisiana Irises. However, he has collaborated on evolutionary biology research projects involving organisms as diverse as primates, bats, Columbines, fruit flies and fungi. He has published two other books - Natural Hybridization and Evolution (OUP, 1997) and Evolution Through Genetic Exchange (OUP, 2006). Mike is also a published outdoor writer whose stories and photographs have appeared in such places as Safari Magazine. Mike and his wife Frances have two adult children, Brian and Jenny.
The strength of this book lies in its taxonomic breadth. * The Quarterly Review of Biology *
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