LIFE CYCLES by John Tyler Bonner

LIFE CYCLES

Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Charming, fascinating, and insightful, this slim volume combines a memoir of a life in science with an accessible distillation of what we know about the workings of living things. Bonner (The Evolution of Complexity by Means of Natural Selection, 1988--not reviewed, etc.) is the professor we all wish we had. There's a vaguely 19th-century air about him--in his love for his work, his gentle sense of humor, his devotion to teaching, and his veneration of the teachers who guided his studies. ``I have devoted my life to slime molds,'' he begins, and after introducing us to the life cycle of the odd little organisms he's specialized in, he makes us a gift of the immensely potent lesson he's gleaned from their study: that an organism isn't just its adult form but its entire life cycle, and that it's the life cycle upon which evolution acts. With this understanding in mind, and with life cycles as his framework (interspersed with engaging anecdotes from his career), Bonner leads us through a variety of biological phenomena, micro and macro, that add up to a thorough overview of current biological thought, including the evolution of sexual reproduction; the mechanics of DNA and RNA; the evolution of size; and the development--instinctual as well as cultural--of self- awareness and of communication between species as well as within them. The best Bio 101 you're likely to find. (Twenty-four line illustrations)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-691-03319-6
Page count: 204pp
Publisher: Princeton Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1993