What is evolution? What is a gene? How did these concepts originate and how did they develop? Genesis is a short history from Lamarck and Darwin to DNA and the Human Genome Project, one that can be read by nonspecialists and which incorporates new evolutionary theories, new concepts of the organism, and shifting concepts of the gene. Jan Sapp conceives of the history as a contest between many specialties that have investigated heredity, development, and evolution. He explores the conceptual oppositions, techniques, insitutional conditions and controverrsies that have shaped the development of biology. While one madel of nature is sometimes overthrown, a new one seldom, if ever, entirely wipes out the old. Unlike typical books on tthe history of evolutioary biology that aim at explaining away opposition to Darwinian theory to reveal "the evolutionary synthesis" and its subsequent development, Genesis also highlights important research on non Darwinian evolution that continues today. Sapp examines contemporary criticisms of gene-centered biology and includes studies of non-DNA based inheritance. He also addresses, for the first time in a broad overview of the history of biology, revolutionary theories about symbiosis as a source of evolutionary change, bacterial evolution, and the construction of a universal "tree" of life that does not conform to Darwinian models.

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