Volvox: Molecular-Genetic Origins of Multicellularity and Cellular Differentiation (Developmental and Cell Biology Series)

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9780521452076: Volvox: Molecular-Genetic Origins of Multicellularity and Cellular Differentiation (Developmental and Cell Biology Series)
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The central thesis of this book is that Volvox and its unicellular and colonial relatives provide a wholly unrivaled opportunity to explore the proximate and ultimate causes underlying the evolution from unicellular ancestors of multicellular organisms with fully differentiated cell types. A major portion of the book is devoted to reviewing what is known about the genetic, cellular and molecular basis of development in the most extensively studied species of Volvox: V. cateri, which exhibits a complete division of labor between mortal somatic cells and immortal germ cells. However, this topic has been put in context by first considering the ecological conditions and cytological preconditions that appear to have fostered the evolution of organisms of progressively increasing size and with progressively increasing tendency to produce terminally differentiated somatic cells. The book concludes by raising the question of whether the germ-soma dichotomy may have evolved by similar or different genetic pathways in different species of Volvox.

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Book Description:

An important question in biology is how multicellular organisms with different cell types evolved from unicellular ancestors. During the evolution of the familiar plants and animals, this transition occurred so long ago that all details of the event have been buried by the sands of time. But in a group of green algae, of which Volvox is the most advanced member, the transition to multicellularity appears to have occurred much more recently, and this book reviews efforts to understand how and why it occurred.

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"Kirk also describes comparative analyses suggesting explanations for the function of multicellularity that can be tested experimentally. This breadth of treatment raises Kirk's book from a technical monograph, read only by specialists, to a synthesis that can be appreicated and enjoyed by any biologist. It seems the most remarkable work of its kind since John Tyler Bonner's The Cellular Slime Molds (1959), and it deserves to achieve the same celebrity." Graham Bell, Science

"This book had everything going for it. The great thing about this book is that it covers, in a single volume, the history of &RVolvox studies, its evolution, ecology, development...and genetics both classical and molecular. This broad picture is presented in clear, straightforward prose by David Kirk, who...has done so much to solve many of the riddles." J. T. Bonner, The Quarterly Review of Biology

"...Kirk has interwoven as background a clear and succinct review of modern knowledge concerning the origin of life on earth, the internal architecture of cells and flagella, aspects of the sexual cycle, and the manifold uses, sometimes surprising, of analyses of mutant genes. All this comes with extensive and diverse references, a good index, photographs, and diagrams, and almost no typographic errors--a very careful job. This book is required reading for any researcher, any teacher of biology, or a biologist on busman's holiday." Phycologia

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780521019149: Volvox: Molecular Genetic Origins: A Search for the Molecular and Genetic Origins of Multicellularity and Cellular Differentiation (Developmental and Cell Biology Series)

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ISBN 10:  0521019141 ISBN 13:  9780521019149
Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 2005
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