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The Tangled Tree
The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life | David Quammen
11 posts | 8 read | 2 reading | 18 to read
Nonpareil science writer David Quammen explains how recent discoveries in molecular biology can change our understanding of evolution and lifes history, with powerful implications for human health and even our own human nature. In the mid-1970s, scientists began using DNA sequences to reexamine the history of all life. Perhaps the most startling discovery to come out of this new fieldthe study of lifes diversity and relatedness at the molecular levelis horizontal gene transfer (HGT), or the movement of genes across species lines. It turns out that HGT has been widespread and important. For instance, we now know that roughly eight percent of the human genome arrived not through traditional inheritance from directly ancestral forms, but sideways by viral infectiona type of HGT. In The Tangled Tree David Quammen, one of that rare breed of science journalists who blends exploration with a talent for synthesis and storytelling (Nature), chronicles these discoveries through the lives of the researchers who made themsuch as Carl Woese, the most important little-known biologist of the twentieth century; Lynn Margulis, the notorious maverick whose wild ideas about mosaic creatures proved to be true; and Tsutomu Wantanabe, who discovered that the scourge of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a direct result of horizontal gene transfer, bringing the deep study of genome histories to bear on a global crisis in public health. Quammen is no ordinary writer. He is simply astonishing, one of that rare class of writer gifted with verve, ingenuity, humor, guts, and great heart (Elle). Now, in The Tangled Tree, he explains how molecular studies of evolution have brought startling recognitions about the tangled tree of lifeincluding where we humans fit upon it. Thanks to new technologies such as CRISPR, we now have the ability to alter even our genetic compositionthrough sideways insertions, as nature has long been doing. The Tangled Tree is a brilliant guide to our transformed understanding of evolution, of lifes history, and of our own human nature.
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Maude
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Pickpick

I'm not gonna lie, there were some parts I had a hard time understanding fully but all in all this was a very readable and interesting science book :)

mreads I love the seed pod vase and the momma and baby armadillos!😍 2mo
Maude @mreads Thank you, I look all over little for my knick knacks :) 2mo
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Briary
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Yay my books arrived! Or some of them. I seem to be having some trouble with my usually reliable seller and two books are still stuck at the warehouse. And what is worse, they suddenly did a huge increase in their prices.. So boo. 🤨

Clwojick Beauty Queens was great! ♥️ 6mo
Briary @Clwojick Excellent! I've heard good things and been meaning to check it out for a long time. 🤩 6mo
10 likes2 comments
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Lindy
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Pickpick

I finished this intriguing #audiobook on the first leg of my travels. It‘s all about the horizontal transfer of genes—a smooching process!—& arguments why the history of life can‘t accurately be shown as a tree. Darwin‘s theory of evolution seems not to apply to the first 2 billion years. Very readable. I.e. the author compares the domestication of dogs to the domestication of mitochondrial bacteria in human cells. (We contain multitudes.) 🤓

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Lindy
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My suitcase is packed for an early departure to Japan tomorrow. Listening to a science audiobook is helping to calm my somewhat frazzled nerves.

AlaMich Is your trip for pleasure or work? Your cat blends in with your bag! And she doesn‘t look too happy about your impending departure. They always know...😿 9mo
CouronneDhiver I heard you‘re about to make a guest appearance on Shawn‘s BookTube channel? Hope that‘s true! 👏🏽👏🏽 9mo
Tanisha_A Eeee! Safe and fun times! 💜 9mo
See All 16 Comments
Lindy @AlaMich It‘s for pleasure. 😊My sweetie will be staying home, so Frida the cat will be fine. 9mo
Lindy @CouronneDhiver Yep. My booktube debut. 😬 9mo
Lindy @Tanisha_A Thanks! 9mo
CouronneDhiver Bottoms up! 🥃 9mo
Freespirit Travel safe!! 9mo
LeahBergen Have a wonderful time and give @shawnmooney a squeeze for me when you see him! 9mo
Lindy @CouronneDhiver I will yield the tipsy roll to the expert: @shawnmooney 😄 9mo
Lindy @LeahBergen You bet! 9mo
Lindy @Freespirit Thanks 😊 9mo
Lcsmcat Bon voyage! 9mo
Lindy @Lcsmcat merci bien! 9mo
readordierachel Have a good trip! 9mo
43 likes16 comments
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Lindy
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Genetic evidence suggests that Rotiferos deltoides have gone without sex for 25 million years.

(Internet image. This type of rotifer can survive for up to 9 years in a dehydrated state. There are only females, and they reproduce by parthenogenesis.)

DivineDiana Now there‘s a new vocabulary word! 🤔 9mo
29 likes1 comment
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Lindy
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The words “enabling meiosis” may sound dull, so let me rephrase that. What we‘re talking about is the invention of sex.

(Internet image)

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bnp
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Am enjoying this book, and wish everyone a happy New year!

Unfortunately, I don't have time to spend here, so will not be posting often.

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DyAnne
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I admit I get a little thrill every time the University of Illinois, my alma mater, is mentioned. 🧡💙👩🏻‍🎓

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DyAnne
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Had to kill some time yesterday, so I went to the bookstore and was a wee bit naughty. The spouse doesn‘t need to know. 🤣 Biology. Evolution. Darwin. New discoveries. I‘m here for it all.

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Well-ReadNeck
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Bailedbailed

I tried, honestly. I made it about halfway on audiobook but when he read an entire RNA sequence of letters, I just called it quits after about 60 letters. Really interesting material, but just too scientific for me.

MayJasper Fab pic though even though you nailed 😊 13mo
97 likes1 comment
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Ericalambbrown
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Fantastic interview about this book on today‘s Science Friday. May be worth checking out if you like to read about science as much as I do. Here‘s the link to Science Friday if interested: https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/how-a-humble-microbe-shook-the-evolutiona...

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