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Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the meaning of life von [Lane, Nick]
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Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the meaning of life Kindle Edition

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"Full of startling insights into the nature and evolution of life as we know it."--The Economist

"Full of startling insights into the nature and evolution of life as we know it."--The Economist

"Full of startling insights into the nature and evolution of life as we know it."--The Economist


Mitochondria are tiny structures located inside our cells that carry out the essential task of producing energy for the cell. They are found in all complex living things, and in that sense, they are fundamental for driving complex life on the planet. But there is much more to them than that. Mitochondria have their own DNA, with their own small collection of genes, separate from those in the cell nucleus. It is thought that they were once bacteria living independent
lives. Their enslavement within the larger cell was a turning point in the evolution of life, enabling the development of complex organisms and, closely related, the origin of two sexes. Unlike the DNA in the nucleus, mitochondrial DNA is passed down exclusively (or almost exclusively) via the female
line. That's why it has been used by some researchers to trace human ancestry daughter-to-mother, to 'Mitochondrial Eve'. Mitochondria give us important information about our evolutionary history. And that's not all. Mitochondrial genes mutate much faster than those in the nucleus because of the free radicals produced in their energy-generating role. This high mutation rate lies behind our ageing and certain congenital diseases. The latest research suggests that mitochondria play a key role in
degenerative diseases such as cancer, through their involvement in precipitating cell suicide.

Mitochondria, then, are pivotal in power, sex, and suicide. In this fascinating and thought-provoking book, Nick Lane brings together the latest research findings in this exciting field to show how our growing understanding of mitochondria is shedding light on how complex life evolved, why sex arose (why don't we just bud?), and why we age and die. This understanding is of fundamental importance, both in understanding how we and all other complex life came to be, but also in order to be able to
control our own illnesses, and delay our degeneration and death.

'An extraordinary account of groundbreaking modern science... The book abounds with interesting and important ideas.'
Mark Ridley, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 3680 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 368 Seiten
  • Verlag: OUP Oxford (26. Oktober 2006)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B006QV7ZGO
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Verbesserter Schriftsatz: Aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen 1 Kundenrezension
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #45.701 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

  •  Ist der Verkauf dieses Produkts für Sie nicht akzeptabel?


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Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Spannend, fundiert, kompetent und trotzdem unaufdringlich erklärt Nick Lane dem Leser alle relevanten Aspekte des Lebens einer Zelle und eines Mehrzellers - wie z.B. uns Menschen. Er nutzt dabei jenen - vielleicht nur im amerikanischen möglichen - Plauderton, der es dem Leser ermöglicht, viel Stoff wie ein Schüler aufzunehmen, ohne sich dabei dumm vorzukommen.

In klarer Gliederung führt er den Leser durch die zentralen Fragen der Zellbiologie, immer verständlich, immer fokussiert, und trotzdem nie langweilig. Warum haben wir Sex? Was ist der Nutzen eines so aufwendigen Verfahrens, dass es vom Einzeller über die Pflanzen bis zu den Primaten immer wieder genutzt wird? Warum sterben Zellen? Wo kommt die Energie des Lebens her?

Im Vorbeigehen werden so auch gleich noch einige Fragen z.B. zu Diabetes und anderen gängigen Krankheiten geklärt, welche die meisten Mediziner ratlos lässt.

Das Buch ist im Original (englisch) für jeden gut lesbar, der das übliche Schulenglisch gelernt hat und normalerweise in der Lage ist, ein englisches Computergame in Betrieb zu nehmen oder eine englische Webseite zu lesen.

Ein lehrreiches, unterhaltsames Buch über Zellen, Sex, das Leben und den ganzen Rest. Kann ich uneingeschränkt empfehlen.
Kommentar 5 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich? Ja Nein Feedback senden...
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.7 von 5 Sternen 114 Rezensionen
112 von 115 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen The Penultimate Roots Trip - Eukaryotes, How We Got Here and How We Work 14. Dezember 2005
Von Edward F. Strasser - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
After the origin of life, the next big step on the way to us was the origin of eukaryotes. These are all the organisms - including people, trees, mushrooms, and slime molds - who package most of our DNA into chromosomes in cell nuclei. Mitochondria, the "powerhouses" of eukaryotes, are descended from bacteria which took to living in a very close relationship with another type of one-celled organism; in fact they came to live inside the other. Nick Lane argues that this merger must have preceded the formation of the nuclear membrane. Hence "Penultimate Roots Trip".

Lane starts with a brief section on the origin of life, in order to present necessary information about how organisms get usable energy. This strongly supports his claim that something like a mitochondrion is necessary for life to become more complex than bacteria. After that he describes how formerly free-living bacteria could have evolved into the vastly stripped-down mitochondria. Then he builds up a picture of how that partnership led to the complexities of modern organisms. And I really do mean "builds". Each chapter draws on material from earlier chapters, and the picture becomes more complex as you go on. Fortunately, there are frequent recaps of the material you're about to need.

Marvelously, he manages to tell this story in mostly plain English. A little bit of technical language is unavoidable, but I am confident that it will not be a problem for anyone who wasn't already scared off by the word "mitochondrion" in the subtitle.

In addition to power, sex, and suicide, the book also discusses aging. Lane presents his ideas on why current attempts to slow aging don't seem to be working and gives some suggestions for research he finds more promising. This is the culmination of the book and I hope it provokes a lot of thought in readers at all levels of technical knowledge.

[Original review 14 Dec 2005; "powerhouse" comment added 25 Jan 2006.]
50 von 55 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Potentially life changing 12. Januar 2006
Von Superannuated student - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Few to no equations, not all that many figures, terminology introduced as needed, yet... this book is demanding. It has the capacity to put the reader through the proverbial wringer. It is slow going, not because it is per se difficult to read, but because it brings forth many questions and much thought. When I finish it, I will need to read it again.

It might be worth buying a copy for everyone in the local high school's biology course, in hopes that 2 or 3 people would read it, then be inspired and motivated to study hard toward real science.

How can one not be excited by the quest for a Last Universal Common Ancestor, whether there be one or more? How can one not be fascinated by a reprise on mitochondria, which in (even a very good) high school biology course 36 years ago were too glibly termed "the powerhouse of the cell" (but did we really know much more than this about them)? We now have specific and wonderous mechanisms of energetics, a possibility of discernable origins and history, and a convincing argument for a fundamental and perhaps unique point of departure from the all-microscopic and limited prokaryotic world, toward eukaryotes and rich and complex life.

Lane presents his opinions and speculation in addition to settled science, but these are clearly and responsibly identified. In several instances, opposing views are noted in sufficient detail to allow one to investigate another side of the argument. A Further Reading bibliography cites original journal papers.
19 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen One of the best books I've ever read 22. November 2006
Von John - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
As another reviewer stated, this really is a life-changing book. I read it after taking a course in biochemistry and it had even more impact on me in tying a lot of fascinating concepts together.

The most amazing thing about this book is how influential mitochondria are on our lives and subsequently how little we (you!) know about them. They're why we(eukaryotes AND warm-blooded animals)'re here, why we're large, why bacteria can't become like us, why we have gender, why we have sex and why we die. Fascinating stuff--definitely a book you should buy (especially considering the title is quite a conversation starter too).
21 von 22 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen The mighty mitochondria 10. Mai 2007
Von Paul A. Martin - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Nick Lane tops his previous effort ("Oxygen") in gathering the myriad threads of biological science around a unifiying topic. By writing about all complex life forms from the point of view of their embedded mitochondria he answers open questions (and poses some novel ones) about the rise of complex organisms, the underpinnings of sexual reproduction and programmed cell death, and even our odds of encountering extraterrestial intelligence.

My only quibble is that each chapter seems to have been written for serialized publication -- there is too much summary of past chapters at the start of each.

A great read, for an audience spanning a wide range of previous biology studies.
23 von 26 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Wish I hadn't read it 24. Dezember 2014
Von CRISTI A CAVE - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition
I realize that I am flying in the face of the collective wisdom of most of the people who have bothered to review this book on Amazon when I say I am very sorry I read it. I have lost a part of my life that I will never get back. I also realize that expressing this sadness of mine will invite nasty attacks from Lane's devoted readers, but I'll just have to suck that up. Early on in my reading I came to this site to see if it was worth continuing. I was encouraged by the hordes of delighted reviewers. One even assured us that reading this book "will change your life!"

Before you attack me: English is my first language and I use it rather well. I have tested high in reading comprehension. I have received a college education in the biological sciences. So I'm not "stupid" or "illiterate."

Now that we have that out of the way, I have to say this was one of the most tedious and unrewarding books I have ever read. As another reviewer has noted, it IS repetitive. Over and over again the author will explain the same principles in the same difficult manner. And it IS speculative. You will be treated to some marvelous bits of knowledge, but they won't make up for the pages and pages and pages of droning speculation. The reason the author has been driven to repeating things over and over again is because he's trying to persuade you of his vision of the role of mitochondria, and to do that he has to build up his case--tedious, repetitive chapter by tedious, repetitive chapter. He has a theory and he wants to popularize it to the world rather than submit it as the end result of a study to his peers for proper review and publication. Perhaps he just doesn't have the time or inclination. Or perhaps he knows his peers wouldn't go for it.

It did "change my life" in a way: it stole a week from me that I could have used in so many better ways.
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