The Coiled Spring: How Life Begins

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9780879695637: The Coiled Spring: How Life Begins

Bier (biology, U. of California-San Diego) offers lay readers and general science students an accessible account of developmental biology, focusing on the principles underlying embryonic development in animals and plants. He discusses such aspects as the central dogma of biology, establishing the primary axes of vertebrate embryos, and patterning plant appendages. He also includes biographical sketches of people who have contributed signally to the field. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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From the Publisher:

Richard Behringer, Univ of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, had the following to say about The Coiled Spring:

Ethan Bier has written a wonderful book that distills the essence and current highlights of modern developmental biology and genetics. It is broadly written for a general audience but detailed enough to provide a useful review for specialists. The initial chapters of the book prepare the naïve reader to understand the central dogma and the modern methods of molecular genetics and embryology. The author then presents two chapters each on Drosophila, vertebrate, and plant embryo axis formation and appendage patterning, creating a well balanced view of life. The final chapter is on the “Future of Biology and Man” , discussing the relevance of embryological studies to biomedical research and human health. The author should be praised for being particularly speculative in this last chapter yet alerting the naïve reader when discussions spill over into science fiction. This chapter is refreshingly current and should result in The Coiled Spring being a very current text for yea! rs to come. Bier writes in a very clear style that not only conveys knowledge but also great excitement for the subject. There are very helpful glossaries throughout the book and beautiful illustrations that are very clearly presented. In addition, Bier has added “Bioboxes”, vignettes on the lives and careers of some of our leading scientists in this field who provide opinions on the most important aspects of scientific discovery. These Bioboxes provide the human element to this exciting field of biology and may inspire current students. Finally, this book sets the stage for subsequent books, including one that would highlight the achievements in developmental biology that have led to knowledge of human disease and one that would go beyond the standard animal and plant model systems to show how an understanding of the core developmental mechanisms are altered to create the amazing diversity of life on earth.

Review:

A well-illustrated and accessible account of our current understanding of how fertilized eggs are transformed into complex organisms. -- Science Magazine, November 3, 2000

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Bier, Ethan
Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (2000)
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Bier, Ethan
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ISBN 10: 0879695633 ISBN 13: 9780879695637
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