Review of “Evolution: The Molecular Landscape”

AT EurekAlert, the online news service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), we read: World-renowned authorities provide current perspectives on Darwin’s theory of evolution.

This is a book review — or perhaps it’s just an announcement. Either way, it’s not the usual fare we encounter at that website. Their subtitle says:

In new book, contributors describe the molecular basis of evolution as well as the relevance of evolutionary theory for sociology, culture and the economy.

That covers a lot of territory. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

A new book from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Evolution: The Molecular Landscape, is based on presentations by world-renowned scholars who gathered at the 74th annual Cold Spring Harbor Symposium on Quantitative Biology last year to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.

Here’s a link to the Amazon listing of the book. Let’s read on:

“An overarching theme of the meeting was the extent to which much of evolutionary biology can now be viewed in a molecular, and often genomic, framework and the extraordinary degree to which many of Darwin’s insights remain profoundly relevant today,” write the meeting organizers, Bruce Stillman, David Stewart, and Jan Witkowski, in the Foreword to the book. “Evolutionary concepts have had an impact far beyond the boundaries of science and there is hardly a field of human endeavor that has not been influenced by evolutionary thinking.”

There’s possibly some over-reaching here, but we haven’t seen the book so we’ll make no judgment Here’s more:

The line-up of speakers — and contributors to the new book — comprised a stellar list of preeminent scientists and thinkers such as the zoologist and prolific author E. O. Wilson; Janet Browne, a science historian and Darwin biographer; Niall Ferguson, a Harvard professor and author of The Ascent of Money; and 2009 Nobel Prize winners Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Jack W. Szostak, to name just a few

Most impressive. Moving along:

Topics covered in the book include the appearance of the first genetic material, the origins of cellular life, evolution and development, selection and adaptation, and genome evolution. Human origins, cognition, and cultural evolution are also covered, along with social interactions.

One more excerpt:

This volume and other recent proceedings from the Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology are available online at Each chapter can be purchased on a pay-per-view basis from the website.

That’s pretty much all there is. We don’t usually post about news like this, but neither does EurekAlert, so we thought we should bring this to your attention.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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8 responses to “Review of “Evolution: The Molecular Landscape”

  1. Tomato Addict

    The occasional bit of good news serves as a nice contrast to the usual smack-down of the anti-enlightenment crowd. Carry on!

  2. I myself was a co-author in an article that appeared in a less-flashy edition of Cold Spring Harbor Symposium on Quantitative Biology. It is a compendium of reviews on a specific topic, drawn from a large group of luminaries in the field (like my graduate advisor). This volume looks more targeted to the general reader, which I think is an excellent idea given the focus of the issue.

  3. James F says:

    This volume looks more targeted to the general reader, which I think is an excellent idea given the focus of the issue.

    I’ll take a wild risk and predict that this will not only be quote-mined, it’ll be strip-mined, dredged, slashed & burned, and then land-mined by the Discoveroid.

  4. If the book contains the abstract of the poster presentations you are up to a surprise. The book will not only be quote mined, it will be misused as proof that creatio … eeerrr … intelligent design proponents also publish.

    Posters don’t go through peer review though. Mostly, you paid your fees and there is space, you present your poster.

  5. Are you sure there were cdesign proponentsists at a Cold Spring Harbor meeting? They’d be laughed at in the bar.

  6. Now that you mention it, I did not see him in the bar.

    His poster was just an attempt to prove a prevalence of deleterious mutations. Not very deeply researched though.

    Several students crowded by his poster, very curious about the guy.

  7. Gabo, which one of them was there? Now you’ve got me curious.

  8. OK, OK, it was Mike “Irreducible-complexity.”