Power, Sex, Suicide : Mitochondria and the meaning of life: Mitochondria and the meaning of life

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Oxford University Press, UK, Oct 13, 2005 - Science - 372 pages
63 Reviews
Mitochondria are tiny structures within all our cells, believed to have once evolved from bacteria living independent lives. Drawing on cutting edge research, this book explores the fundamental role they play in some of the biggest themes in biology: evolution, the origin of the sexes, in growth, ageing, disease, and in death. - ;Power, Sex, Suicide, Complexity, Individuality, Fertility, Prehistory, Ageing, Death. These universal themes are all linked by mitochondria - the tiny structures located inside our cells - miniature powerhouses that use oxygen to generate power. There are hundreds of them in each cell, some 10 million billion in a human being. Once considered menial slaves, mere workhorses for complex cells with nuclei, their significance is now undergoing a radical revision. Mitochondria are now seen as the key ingredient that made complex life possible at all. For two billion years, bacteria ruled the earth without ever generating true complexity - a stasis that may still grip life on other planets. Then the union of two bacterial cells led to an evolutionary big bang, from which algae, fungi, plants and animals emerged. For mitochondria were once free-living bacteria, and still retain unmistakable traits of their ancestry, including some of their original DNA. Ever since their fateful absorption, the tortuous and unpredictable relationship between the mitochondria and their host cells has forced one evolutionary innovation after another. Without mitochondria, nothing would exist of the world we know and love. Their story is the story of life itself. Today, mitochondria are central to research into human prehistory, genetic diseases, cell suicide, fertility, ageing, bioenergetics, sex and the eukaryotic cell. Piecing together puzzles from the forefront of research, this book paints a sweeping canvas that will thrill all who are interested in biology, while also contributing to evolutionary thinking and debate. This is a book full of startling insights into the nature and evolution of life, and should be read by anyone who wants to know why we're here. - ;Challenging, but rewarding. - Observer;Full of startling insights into the nature and evolution of life as we know it. - Economist Best Books of the Year, 2005;An enthralling account...The author has accomplished something quite breathtaking...moreover,he brings the science alive...he is always accessible, livley, thought-provoking, and informative. Every biologist should read this book - ;'Power, Sex, Suicide is an enjoyable and readable book....anyone interested in the broader and more philosophical aspects of their discipline will profit from reading the book' - David G. Nicholls, Science;impressive....a polemical book...readable, provocative and often persuasive....This is an exciting and unusual book. - Jonathan Hodgkin, Times Literary Supplement

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Fascinating book, difficult prose. - Goodreads
Lane is a wonderful science writer. - Goodreads
Engaging writing style. - Goodreads

Review: Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life

User Review  - Yashwanth K - Goodreads

The initial chapters were captivating. the author wanted to hook on the reader with the limited research-speak and more metaphors. however the book turns suddenly dense prompting me to go back a few ... Read full review

Review: Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life

User Review  - John Hancock - Goodreads

This is an excellent book, which really made me think. It is hard going at times if you have not already read a lot of biology, but Nick Lane writes really well and grapples with lots of ideas. If you are a molecular biology student you really need to read this book. Read full review

About the author (2005)

Nick Lane studied biochemistry at Imperial College, University of London, and conducted his doctoral research on oxygen free-radicals and metabolic function in organ transplants at the Royal Free Hospital, London. Dr Lane is Honorary Reader at University College London and strategic directorat Adelphi Medi Cine, a medical multimedia company based in London. His first book, iOxygen: the molecule that made the world/i, was published to critical acclaim by Oxford University Press in 2002. His articles have been published in numerous international scientific journals, including ScientificAmerican, The Lancet and the British Medical Journal. He lives in London.

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