Daily Archives: December 22, 2018

*** The Tangled Tree by David Quamen

The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life┬ádiscusses three new ideas in biology: a new domain of creatures, Archaea, the proof that genes can transfer “horizontally” and not just from parent to child, and the realization that our microbiome may be more important than the rest of our bodies. All that puts into serious question the orderly tree of life we all learned in school.

The author spends rather too much time describing various scientists, sometimes with satisfying results (I did not know that Lynn Margulis was once married to Carl Sagan, who from this account was a cad when young) and other times not so much (Carl Woese’s feuds with pretty much everyone). His descriptions of labs and sometimes dangerous lab techniques are always welcome and lively, however. A long book but worth reading.

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Filed under Non fiction