Life's Origin: The Beginnings of Biological Evolution

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Oktober 2002



This volume explores the historical and current theories about the origin of life, addressing in particular the three key puzzles of how and when life began on Earth and in what form.


List of Figures and Tables Introduction: The What, When, and How of Life's Beginnings
1. Historical Understanding of Life's Beginnings John Oro What Is Life? Beliefs and Hypotheses on the Origin of Life Chemical Evolution Personal Reminiscences Cosmological Evolution and the Origin of Life The Earth Moon System Exploration of the Solar System Life Beyond the Solar System Epilogue References
2. From Big Bang to Primordial Planet: Setting the Stage for the Origin of Life Alan W. Schwartz and Sherwood Chang Introduction Origin of the Biogenic Elements Origin of the Solar System Earth Further Reading
3. Formation of the Building Blocks of Life Stanley L. Miller and Antonio Lazcano Introduction The Heterotrophic Origin of Life Prebiotic Syntheses of Amino Acids Synthesis of Nucleic Acid Bases Prebiotic Synthesis of Sugars Hydrothermal Vents and the Origin of Life Extraterrestrial Organic Compounds and Prebiotic Evolution An Autotrophic Origin of Life? Have Too Many Cooks Spoiled the Soup? References
4. From Building Blocks to the Polymers of Life James P. Ferris The Biopolymers in the First Life The RNA World: The Prebiotic Synthesis of RNA The Role of Polypeptides in the Origin of Life Conclusions References Further Reading
5. The Origin of Biological Information Leslie E. Orgel Introduction The RNA World What's Wrong with the Molecular Biologist's Dream? The Metabolist Argument Conclusion and Outlook References
6. When Did Life Begin? J. William Schopf Introduction Evidence from Living Organisms Evidence from the Rock Record When Was Earth Ready for Life? The What and When of Life's Beginnings Further Reading List of Contributors Glossary Index


J. William Schopf is Professor of Paleobiology and Director of the IGPP Center for the Study of Evolution and the Origin of Life at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is author of Cradle of Life: The Discovery of Earth's Earliest Fossils (1999) and Missing Fossils: Solution to the Mystery of Photosynthesis (1998), and has edited several other volumes.


"Each of the six chapters holds the reader's attention. The material, which is presented on the level of an advanced undergraduate, should pique the interest of novices with a science background; advanced practitioners may be reminded of forgotten aspects of the subject . . . .The book's greatest asset is that it assembles such a marvelous group of authors."--"American Scientist"
EAN: 9780520233911
ISBN: 0520233913
Untertitel: Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: Oktober 2002
Seitenanzahl: 208 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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