The Music of Life: Biology beyond genes

Paperback | March 15, 2008

byDenis Noble

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What is Life? Decades of research have resulted in the full mapping of the human genome - three billion pairs of code whose functions are only now being understood. The gene's eye view of life, advocated by evolutionary biology, sees living bodies as mere vehicles for the replication of thegenetic codes. But for a physiologist, working with the living organism, the view is a very different one. Denis Noble is a world renowned physiologist, and sets out an alternative view to the question - one that becomes deeply significant in terms of the living, breathing organism. The genome is not life itself.Noble argues that far from genes building organisms, they should be seen as prisoners of the organism. The view of life presented in this little, modern, post-genome project reflection on the nature of life, is that of the systems biologist: to understand what life is, we must view it at a variety of different levels, all interacting with each other in a complex web. It is that emergent web, full offeedback between levels, from the gene to the wider environment, that is life. It is a kind of music. Including stories from Noble's own research experience, his work on the heartbeat, musical metaphors, and elements of linguistics and Chinese culture, this very personal and at times deeply lyrical book sets out thesystems biology view of life.

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What is Life? Decades of research have resulted in the full mapping of the human genome - three billion pairs of code whose functions are only now being understood. The gene's eye view of life, advocated by evolutionary biology, sees living bodies as mere vehicles for the replication of thegenetic codes. But for a physiologist, ...

Denis Noble, CBE, FRS, is Emeritus Professor of Cardiovascular Physiology at the University of Oxford. He was Chairman of the IUPS (International Union of Physiological Sciences) World Congress in 1993, and Secretary-General of IUPS from 1993-2001. His previous publications include the seminal set of essays iThe Logic of Life/i (Boyd ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:176 pages, 7.72 × 5.08 × 0.51 inPublished:March 15, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199228361

ISBN - 13:9780199228362

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Table of Contents

1. The CD of Life: the genome2. The organ of 30,000 pipes3. The Score: is it written down?4. The Conductor: downward causation5. The Rhythm Section: the heartbeat and other rhythms6. The Orchestra: the organs and systems of the body7. Modes and Keys: cellular harmony8. The Composer: evolution9. The Opera Theatre: the brain10. Curtain Call: The artist disappears

Editorial Reviews

`highly evocative essay'Steven Poole, The Guardian