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First Signals : The Evolution of Multicellular Development - John Tyler Bonner

First Signals

The Evolution of Multicellular Development

Paperback Published: 23rd January 2001
ISBN: 9780691070384
Number Of Pages: 156

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The enormous recent success of molecular developmental biology has yielded a vast amount of new information on the details of development. So much so that we risk losing sight of the underlying principles that apply to all development. To cut through this thicket, John Tyler Bonner ponders a moment in evolution when development was at its most basic--the moment when signaling between cells began. Although multicellularity arose numerous times, most of those events happened many millions of years ago. Many of the details of development that we see today, even in simple organisms, accrued over a long evolutionary timeline, and the initial events are obscured. The relatively uncomplicated and easy-to-grow cellular slime molds offer a unique opportunity to analyze development at a primitive stage and perhaps gain insight into how early multicellular development might have started.

Through slime molds, Bonner seeks a picture of the first elements of communication between cells. He asks what we have learned by looking at their developmental biology, including recent advances in our molecular understanding of the process. He then asks what is the most elementary way that polarity and pattern formation can be achieved. To find the answer, he uses models, including mathematical ones, to generate insights into how cell-to-cell cooperation might have originated. Students and scholars in the blossoming field of the evolution of development, as well as evolutionary biologists generally, will be interested in what Bonner has to say about the origins of multicellular development--and thus of the astounding biological complexity we now observe--and how best to study it.

Industry Reviews

"As with all of Bonner's books, the writing is crisp and clear, even elegant, in the apparent effortless simplicity in which he describes very complex issues ... Bonner again combines an appreciation and deep understanding of the past with a vision of and for the future."--Brian K. Hall, Evolution and Development "Insightful aphorisms have been a ... feature of John Tyler Bonner's writing ... Half a century later, it's a delight to find him ... in fine form."--Bernard Dixon, New Scientist

Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. 3
From Embryology to Developmental Biologyp. 9
The Origin of Multicellularityp. 19
Size and Evolutionp. 49
The Evolution of Signalingp. 63
The Basic Elements of Multicellular Developmentp. 75
Development in the Cellular Slime Moldsp. 93
Conclusionp. 131
Bibliographyp. 135
Indexp. 143
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691070384
ISBN-10: 0691070385
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 156
Published: 23rd January 2001
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.96 x 13.97  x 1.27
Weight (kg): 0.19

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