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The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life
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Bibliographic Detail
Publisher W W Norton & Co Inc
Publication date July 20, 2015
Pages 360
Binding Hardcover
Book category Adult Non-Fiction
ISBN-13 9780393088816
ISBN-10 0393088812
Dimensions 1.25 by 6.50 by 9.75 in.
Weight 1.46 lbs.
Original list price $27.95
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Summaries and Reviews description: Product Description:

To explain the mystery of how life evolved on Earth, Nick Lane explores the deep link between energy and genes.

The Earth teems with life: in its oceans, forests, skies and cities. Yet there’s a black hole at the heart of biology. We do not know why complex life is the way it is, or, for that matter, how life first began. In The Vital Question, award-winning author and biochemist Nick Lane radically reframes evolutionary history, putting forward a solution to conundrums that have puzzled generations of scientists.

For two and a half billion years, from the very origins of life, single-celled organisms such as bacteria evolved without changing their basic form. Then, on just one occasion in four billion years, they made the jump to complexity. All complex life, from mushrooms to man, shares puzzling features, such as sex, which are unknown in bacteria. How and why did this radical transformation happen?

The answer, Lane argues, lies in energy: all life on Earth lives off a voltage with the strength of a lightning bolt. Building on the pillars of evolutionary theory, Lane’s hypothesis draws on cutting-edge research into the link between energy and cell biology, in order to deliver a compelling account of evolution from the very origins of life to the emergence of multicellular organisms, while offering deep insights into our own lives and deaths.

Both rigorous and enchanting, The Vital Question provides a solution to life’s vital question: why are we as we are, and indeed, why are we here at all?

Book cover for 9780387978680 Book cover for 9780393088816
The price comparison is for this edition
from W W Norton & Co Inc (July 20, 2015)
9780393088816 | details & prices | 360 pages | 6.50 × 9.75 × 1.25 in. | 1.46 lbs | List price $27.95
About: To explain the mystery of how life evolved on Earth, Nick Lane explores the deep link between energy and genes.
With A. Lawrence | from Springer Verlag (October 1, 1992); titled "Modern Inertial Technology: Navigation, Guidance, and Control"
9780387978680 | details & prices | 6.50 × 9.75 × 0.75 in. | 1.30 lbs | List price $74.95
This edition also contains Modern Inertial Technology: Navigation, Guidance, and Control
About: This book describes the modern inertial technology used for guidance and control in navigation.
Book cover for 9780393352979
from W W Norton & Co Inc (July 26, 2016)
9780393352979 | details & prices | 368 pages | List price $16.95
About: “One of the deepest, most illuminating books about the history of life to have been published in recent years.

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