This concise, accessible book considers from a biological perspective the controversial issues of our day: abortion, euthanasia, engineered evolution, cooperativity, and the future of sustainable life on this planet. Exploring in fascinating detail the processes by which cells come into being and multiply, Loomis clearly and simply explains the latest in complex biological research. He reviews recent insights into molecular and human evolution, the role of DNA sequences in determining traits, and the biological basis for consciousness, all of which, he argues, need to be considered when making life-and-death decisions and wrestling with questions about the limits to intervention.
List of Illustrations
1. The Value of Life
2. Human Potential
3. Engineered Life
4. Genomic Information
7. Selfishness and Cooperativity
8. The Origin of Life and Evolution of Man
9. Sustainable Life
Epilog. Wonderful Life
William F. Loomis is Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of California, San Diego. He is the former President of the Society for Developmental Biology and an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
"This book is an enjoyable and thought-provoking 'My Dinner With Bill Loomis'. He shows how respect for human life means acknowledging its ecological and evolutionary contexts. Molecular biology, he writes, is like Prometheus, giving us incredible tools for good or evil—and it's time that we grow up."—Scott F. Gilbert, Howard A. Schneiderman Professor of Biology, Swarthmore College
"A wonderful journey through the very basis of life and how we live."—Lewis Wolpert, Professor of Biology as Applied to Medicine, University College, London
"Advances in biology increasingly impinge on our everyday lives, challenging us with new interventions and ideas of what it means to be human. In this book, the distinguished scientist Bill Loomis takes us effortlessly through the biology we need to understand to come to our own opinions about these issues of great importance to each of us and to society as a whole."—Paul Nurse, President of Rockefeller University, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine
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