Robustness and Evolvability in Living Systems
By (author) Andreas Wagner
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Robustness and Evolvability in Living Systems by Andreas Wagner
Book DescriptionAll living things are remarkably complex, yet their DNA is unstable, undergoing countless random mutations over generations. Despite this instability, most animals do not grow two heads or die, plants continue to thrive, and bacteria continue to divide. Robustness and Evolvability in Living Systems tackles this perplexing paradox. The book explores why genetic changes do not cause organisms to fail catastrophically and how evolution shapes organisms' robustness. Andreas Wagner looks at this problem from the ground up, starting with the alphabet of DNA, the genetic code, RNA, and protein molecules, moving on to genetic networks and embryonic development, and working his way up to whole organisms. He then develops an evolutionary explanation for robustness. Wagner shows how evolution by natural selection preferentially finds and favors robust solutions to the problems organisms face in surviving and reproducing. Such robustness, he argues, also enhances the potential for future evolutionary innovation. Wagner also argues that robustness has less to do with organisms having plenty of spare parts (the redundancy theory that has been popular) and more to do with the reality that mutations can change organisms in ways that do not substantively affect their fitness. Unparalleled in its field, this book offers the most detailed analysis available of all facets of robustness within organisms. It will appeal not only to biologists but also to engineers interested in the design of robust systems and to social scientists concerned with robustness in human communities and populations.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780691134048
(229mm x 152mm x 20mm)
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 2-Jul-2007
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Andreas Wagner
Arrival of the Fittest, Paperback (July 2015)
Discover the final puzzle piece to complete Darwin's theory of evolution in this landmark book from one of today's most inventive scientists
Origins of Evolutionary Innovations, Hardback (July 2011)
Every organism has visible, macroscopic traits that represented dramatic, transformative innovations when they first arose, changing not only organismal lifestyles, but also the future evolutionary path of life. This book provides the first major synthesis of existing knowledge that will form the basis of a theory of innovation in living systems.
Paradoxical Life, Paperback (July 2011)» View all books by Andreas Wagner
What can a fingernail tell us about the mysteries of creation? In one sense, a nail is merely a hunk of mute matter, yet in another, it's an information superhighway quite literally at our fingertips. This title explores this hidden web of unimaginably complex interactions in every living being.
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Author Biography - Andreas Wagner
Andreas Wagner is professor of biochemistry at the University of Zurich. He studies the evolution of biological systems on all levels of organismal organization, from genes and genomes to gene networks and embryonic development
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