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.
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
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.
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