Richard C. Francis is a science journalist with a PhD in neurobiology from Stony Brook University. He is the author of the acclaimed books Domesticated, Epigenetics and Why Won’t Men Ask for Directions? He lives in northern California.
This edition has been thoroughly revised in each disease area, featuring newly researched actors in epigenetic regulation, including long noncoding RNA in addition to histone modifications and DNA methylation. Therapeutic pathways in treating cancer and extending human longevity are also considered, as are current debates and future directions for research.Presents a fully-updated and expanded release addressing transgenerational epigenetics, epigenetic mechanisms of gene regulation, and the role of epigenetics in human longevity and cancerExamines the field from "bench-to-bedside", discussing basic science, disease management, current debates, and next steps in epigenetic research and drug discoveryFeatures chapter contributions from international experts
The first edition of this important work received excellent reviews; the second edition continues its comprehensive coverage adding more current research and new topics based on customer and reader reviews, including new discoveries, approved therapeutics, and clinical trials. From molecular mechanisms and epigenetic technology, to discoveries in human disease and clinical epigenetics, the nature and applications of the science is presented for those with interests ranging from the fundamental basis of epigenetics, to therapeutic interventions for epigenetic-based disorders.Timely and comprehensive collection of fully up-to-date reviews on epigenetics that are organized into one volume and written by leading figures in the fieldCovers the latest advances in many different areas of epigenetics, ranging from basic aspects, to technologies, to clinical medicine Written at a verbal and technical level that can be understood by scientists and college students Updated to include new epigenetic discoveries, newly approved therapeutics, and clinical trials
Exploring various sexual phenomena, Francis exposes fundamental defects in sociobiology and evolutionary psychology, which he traces to their misguided emphasis on "why" questions at the expense of "how" questions. Francis contends that this preoccupation with "why" questions (such as, "Why won't men ask for directions"?) results in a paranoiac mindset and distorted evolutionary explanations. His alternative framework entails a broader conception of what constitutes an evolutionary explanation, one in which both evolutionary history, as embodied in the tree of life, and developmental processes are brought to the foreground. This alternative framework is also better grounded in basic biology.
Deeply learned, consistently persuasive, and always engaging, this book is a welcome antidote to simplistic sociobiological exegeses of animal and human behavior.
Without our domesticated plants and animals, human civilization as we know it would not exist. We would still be living at subsistence level as hunter-gatherers if not for domestication. It is no accident that the cradle of civilization—the Middle East—is where sheep, goats, pigs, cattle, and cats commenced their fatefully intimate association with humans.
Before the agricultural revolution, there were perhaps 10 million humans on earth. Now there are more than 7 billion of us. Our domesticated species have also thrived, in stark contrast to their wild ancestors. In a human-constructed environment—or man-made world—it pays to be domesticated.
Domestication is an evolutionary process first and foremost. What most distinguishes domesticated animals from their wild ancestors are genetic alterations resulting in tameness, the capacity to tolerate close human proximity. But selection for tameness often results in a host of seemingly unrelated by-products, including floppy ears, skeletal alterations, reduced aggression, increased sociality, and reduced brain size. It's a package deal known as the domestication syndrome.
Elements of the domestication syndrome can be found in every domesticated species—not only cats, dogs, pigs, sheep, cattle, and horses but also more recent human creations, such as domesticated camels, reindeer, and laboratory rats. That domestication results in this suite of changes in such a wide variety of mammals is a fascinating evolutionary story, one that sheds much light on the evolutionary process in general.
We humans, too, show signs of the domestication syndrome, which some believe was key to our evolutionary success. By this view, human evolution parallels the evolution of dogs from wolves, in particular.
A natural storyteller, Richard C. Francis weaves history, archaeology, and anthropology to create a fascinating narrative while seamlessly integrating the most cutting-edge ideas in twenty-first-century biology, from genomics to evo-devo.