Extended Heredity: A New Understanding of Inheritance and Evolution

Princeton University Press
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How genes are not the only basis of heredity—and what this means for evolution, human life, and disease

For much of the twentieth century it was assumed that genes alone mediate the transmission of biological information across generations and provide the raw material for natural selection. In Extended Heredity, leading evolutionary biologists Russell Bonduriansky and Troy Day challenge this premise. Drawing on the latest research, they demonstrate that what happens during our lifetimes--and even our grandparents' and great-grandparents' lifetimes—can influence the features of our descendants. On the basis of these discoveries, Bonduriansky and Day develop an extended concept of heredity that upends ideas about how traits can and cannot be transmitted across generations.

By examining the history of the gene-centered view in modern biology and reassessing fundamental tenets of evolutionary theory, Bonduriansky and Day show that nongenetic inheritance—involving epigenetic, environmental, behavioral, and cultural factors—could play an important role in evolution. The discovery of nongenetic inheritance therefore has major implications for key questions in evolutionary biology, as well as human health.

Extended Heredity reappraises long-held ideas and opens the door to a new understanding of inheritance and evolution.

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About the author

Russell Bonduriansky is professor of evolutionary biology at the University of New South Wales in Australia. Troy Day is a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and the Department of Biology at Queen's University in Canada. His books include Biocalculus and A Biologist's Guide to Mathematical Modeling in Ecology and Evolution (Princeton).
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Apr 10, 2018
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Pages
280
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ISBN
9781400890156
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / History
Science / Life Sciences / Evolution
Science / Life Sciences / Genetics & Genomics
Science / Life Sciences / Molecular Biology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Personalized Epigenetics discusses the core translatability of epigenetics to health management of individuals who have unique variations in their epigenetic signatures that can guide both disorder and disease prevention and therapy.

The book details inter-individual variability in the major epigenetic process in humans consisting of DNA methylation, histone modifications, and noncoding RNA, and the diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic potential of the field, it also reviews the impact of the environment on epigenetic variations among individuals and the role of pharmacology and drug development in personalized epigenetics.

Most importantly, the text covers personalized epigenetics from a disease-oriented perspective, presenting chapters that provide advances in widespread disorders or diseases, including diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disorders, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, neurological disorders, and pain management.

Discusses the core translatability of epigenetics to health management of individuals who have unique variations in their epigenetic signatures Details inter-individual variability in the major epigenetic process in humans consisting of DNA methylation, histone modifications, and noncoding RNA, and the consequent diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic potential of the fieldReviews the impact of the environment on epigenetic variations among individuals and the roles of pharmacology and drug developmentDevotes several chapters to the advances made in widespread disorders or diseases, including diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disorders, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, neurological disorders, and pain management
Are you considering to test your own DNA? Do you want to learn more about your health and ancestry? Understand your DNA — A Guide is about what you can use genetics for. For a few hundred dollars, you can now scan your own genes. Millions of people all over the world have already done so. Everyone wants to see what they can get to know about themselves, and the market growing rapidly. But what does it require from you? And what can you really use a DNA test for? Understand your DNA — A Guide helps you put the plots and charts of consumer genetics into perspective and enables you to figure out what's up and down in the media headlines. The book is also a key input for today's debate about what we as a society can and want to do with medical genetics. Genetics will play a growing role in the future. Understand your DNA — A Guide is an easy-to-read and necessary guide to that future. The book is provided with a foreword by Professor Sham Pak-Chung of Hong Kong University.While there are many books about genetics, they typically take the perspective of a scientist wanting to understand the molecular levels. At the same time, direct-to-consumer genetics is a booming market, with millions of people already tested. Very little has been published that will guide them for real, because the need here is more focused on medical and practical understanding, than focussed on molecules.This book therefore aims to hit that vacant spot in the market. It's a walk-through of all concepts that are necessary to understand in your own analysis. Meanwhile, it is also limited in scope to only those concepts — thus distinguishing it from broader works.The book is appropriate for the readerships in modern multi-ethnic metropolises because it mixes European and Asian examples, both from the collaboration between the author from Europe and the foreword-writer, Prof. Pak Sham of Hong Kong University. But also, because many of the examples in the book concerns differences and similarities between Asian and European ethnicities, something the author believes is a trend in time.
2019 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award Finalist
"Science book of the year"—The Guardian
One of New York Times 100 Notable Books for 2018
One of Publishers Weekly's Top Ten Books of 2018
One of Kirkus's Best Books of 2018 
One of Mental Floss's Best Books of 2018
One of Science Friday's Best Science Books of 2018
“Extraordinary”—New York Times Book Review   
"Magisterial"—The Atlantic
"Engrossing"—Wired
"Leading contender as the most outstanding nonfiction work of the year"—Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Celebrated New York Times columnist and science writer Carl Zimmer presents a profoundly original perspective on what we pass along from generation to generation. Charles Darwin played a crucial part in turning heredity into a scientific question, and yet he failed spectacularly to answer it. The birth of genetics in the early 1900s seemed to do precisely that. Gradually, people translated their old notions about heredity into a language of genes. As the technology for studying genes became cheaper, millions of people ordered genetic tests to link themselves to missing parents, to distant ancestors, to ethnic identities...

But, Zimmer writes, “Each of us carries an amalgam of fragments of DNA, stitched together from some of our many ancestors. Each piece has its own ancestry, traveling a different path back through human history. A particular fragment may sometimes be cause for worry, but most of our DNA influences who we are—our appearance, our height, our penchants—in inconceivably subtle ways.” Heredity isn’t just about genes that pass from parent to child. Heredity continues within our own bodies, as a single cell gives rise to trillions of cells that make up our bodies. We say we inherit genes from our ancestors—using a word that once referred to kingdoms and estates—but we inherit other things that matter as much or more to our lives, from microbes to technologies we use to make life more comfortable. We need a new definition of what heredity is and, through Carl Zimmer’s lucid exposition and storytelling, this resounding tour de force delivers it. 

Weaving historical and current scientific research, his own experience with his two daughters, and the kind of original reporting expected of one of the world’s best science journalists, Zimmer ultimately unpacks urgent bioethical quandaries arising from new biomedical technologies, but also long-standing presumptions about who we really are and what we can pass on to future generations.
Thirty years ago, biologists could get by with a rudimentary grasp of mathematics and modeling. Not so today. In seeking to answer fundamental questions about how biological systems function and change over time, the modern biologist is as likely to rely on sophisticated mathematical and computer-based models as traditional fieldwork. In this book, Sarah Otto and Troy Day provide biology students with the tools necessary to both interpret models and to build their own.

The book starts at an elementary level of mathematical modeling, assuming that the reader has had high school mathematics and first-year calculus. Otto and Day then gradually build in depth and complexity, from classic models in ecology and evolution to more intricate class-structured and probabilistic models. The authors provide primers with instructive exercises to introduce readers to the more advanced subjects of linear algebra and probability theory. Through examples, they describe how models have been used to understand such topics as the spread of HIV, chaos, the age structure of a country, speciation, and extinction.


Ecologists and evolutionary biologists today need enough mathematical training to be able to assess the power and limits of biological models and to develop theories and models themselves. This innovative book will be an indispensable guide to the world of mathematical models for the next generation of biologists.


A how-to guide for developing new mathematical models in biology
Provides step-by-step recipes for constructing and analyzing models
Interesting biological applications
Explores classical models in ecology and evolution
Questions at the end of every chapter
Primers cover important mathematical topics
Exercises with answers
Appendixes summarize useful rules
Labs and advanced material available
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A paradigm-shifting book from an acclaimed Harvard Medical School scientist and one of Time’s most influential people.

It’s a seemingly undeniable truth that aging is inevitable. But what if everything we’ve been taught to believe about aging is wrong? What if we could choose our lifespan?

In this groundbreaking book, Dr. David Sinclair, leading world authority on genetics and longevity, reveals a bold new theory for why we age. As he writes: “Aging is a disease, and that disease is treatable.”

This eye-opening and provocative work takes us to the frontlines of research that is pushing the boundaries on our perceived scientific limitations, revealing incredible breakthroughs—many from Dr. David Sinclair’s own lab at Harvard—that demonstrate how we can slow down, or even reverse, aging. The key is activating newly discovered vitality genes, the descendants of an ancient genetic survival circuit that is both the cause of aging and the key to reversing it. Recent experiments in genetic reprogramming suggest that in the near future we may not just be able to feel younger, but actually become younger.

Through a page-turning narrative, Dr. Sinclair invites you into the process of scientific discovery and reveals the emerging technologies and simple lifestyle changes—such as intermittent fasting, cold exposure, exercising with the right intensity, and eating less meat—that have been shown to help us live younger and healthier for longer. At once a roadmap for taking charge of our own health destiny and a bold new vision for the future of humankind, Lifespan will forever change the way we think about why we age and what we can do about it.
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