Oxygen: the molecule that made the world

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Oxford University Press,
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If water is the cradle of life, then oxygen is its engine. Without oxygen, life on Earth could not have advanced beyond a slime in the oceans, and would probably have ended its days in the ostensible sterility of Mars or Venus. With oxygen, life flourished in all its wonderful variety. Withit, too, came the evolution of ageing and death. This book is about life, death and oxygen: about how and why life produced and adapted to oxygen; about the evolutionary past and future of life on Earth; about energy and health, disease and death, sex and regeneration, and about ourselves. Life's adaptations to oxygen began nearly four billion years ago, and are still written into our innermost constitution. Adaptations to the opportunities and challenges posed by oxygen link the extremes of the living world, from bacterial tolerance to cosmic radiation to the organisation of our ownbodies. Thinking about life through the prism of oxygen explains conundrums like the evolution of photosynthesis, the sudden appearance of large animals in the Cambrian explosion, the flight of dragonflies as big as hawks, the origin of two sexes, the accelerated ageing of cloned animals like Dollythe sheep, and the long lives of bats and birds. Oxygen takes a panoramic view of life on Earth. Drawing on fields as diverse as geology, cosmology, chemistry, biology and medicine, it explains why oxygen bridges the gap between the two great facets of life, metabolism and reproduction. Oxygen is shown to be a primordial sensor of health andvitality, which still orchestrates our defences against physiological stresses such as radiation and infection. This unusual perspective offers striking insights into the nature of ageing, disease and death, culminating in a new synthesis, the Double Agent Theory of ageing. We see why neither the Human Genome Project nor dietary antioxidant supplements can solve the problems of old age, and why infectiousdiseases and the emerging field of mitochondrial medicine might lead to cures for heart disease, cancer and dementia. The result is an entertaining and thought-provoking read that challenges key assumptions underlying modern medical research.
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Grouped Work ID 313ada92-53e7-d478-4b77-bf314e6483bf
full_title oxygen the molecule that made the world
author lane nick
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-04-27 02:59:25AM

Solr Details

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author Lane, Nick, 1967-
author-letter Lane, Nick,
author_additional Nick Lane.
author_display Lane, Nick
availability_toggle_englewood Available Now, Entire Collection
available_at_englewood Englewood Public Library
bisac_subject Life Sciences, SCIENCE
callnumber-a QP535.O1
callnumber-first Q - Science
callnumber-subject QP - Physiology
callnumber_sort_englewood 546.7211 LANE, NICK
date_added 2012-03-29T06:00:00Z
days_since_added 1854
detailed_location_englewood EPL Non-Fiction
display_description Oxygen has had extraordinary effects on life. Three hundred million years ago, in Carboniferous times, dragonflies grew as big as seagulls, with wingspans ofnearly a metre. Researchers claim they could have flown only if the air had contained more oxygen than today -probably as much as 35 per cent. Giant spiders, tree-ferns, marine rock formations and fossil charcoalsall tell the same story. High oxygen levels may also explain the global firestorm that contributed to thedemise of the dinosaurs after the asteroid impact. The strange and profound effects that oxygen has had on the evolution of life pose a riddle, which this booksets out to answer. Oxygen is a toxic gas. Divers breathing pure oxygen at depth suffer from convulsionsand lung injury. Fruit flies raised at twice normal atmospheric levels of oxygen live half as long as theirsiblings. Reactive forms of oxygen, known as free radicals, are thought to cause ageing in people. Yet ifatmospheric oxygen reached 35 per cent in the Carboniferous, why did it promote exuberant growth, instead of rapid ageing and death?Oxygen takes the reader on an enthralling journey, as gripping as a thriller, as it unravels the unexpectedways in which oxygen spurred the evolution of life and death. The book explains far more than the size ofancient insects: it shows how oxygen underpins the origin of biological complexity, the birth of photosynthesis, the sudden evolution of animals, the need for two sexes, the accelerated ageing of cloned animals like Dolly the sheep, and the surprisingly long lives of bats and birds. Drawing on this grand evolutionary canvas, Oxygen offers fresh perspectives on our own lives and deaths, explaining modern killer diseases, why we age, and what we can do about it. Advancing revelatory new ideas, following chains of evidence, the book ranges through many disciplines, from environmental sciences tomolecular medicine. The result is a captivating vision of contemporary science and a humane synthesis of ourplace in nature. This remarkable book will redefine the way we think about the world.
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id 313ada92-53e7-d478-4b77-bf314e6483bf
isbn 9780191639074, 9780198607830, 9781280594502
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lc_subject Aging, Biogeochemical cycles, Evolution, Oxygen, Oxygen in the body, Physiological effect
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lib_boost_englewood 50
literary_form Non Fiction
literary_form_full Non Fiction
local_callnumber_englewood 546.7211 LANE, NICK
local_callnumber_exact_englewood 546.7211 LANE, NICK
local_callnumber_left_englewood 546.7211 LANE, NICK
local_days_since_added_englewood 1609
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oclc (OCoLC)781945443
owning_library_englewood Englewood Public Library
owning_location_englewood Englewood Public Library
physical 1 online resource (x, 374 pages) : illustrations, 374 p. : ill. ; 20 cm.
popularity 1
primary_isbn 9780198607830
publishDate 2002, 2003
publishDateSort 2002
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subject_facet Aging, Biogeochemical cycles -- Popular works, Electronic books, Oxygen, Oxygen -- Evolution -- Popular works, Oxygen -- Physiological effect, Oxygen -- Popular works, Oxygen in the body -- Popular works, SCIENCE -- Life Sciences -- Biochemistry
table_of_contents Introduction: Elixir of Life --- and Death -- In the beginning: The origins and importance of oxygen -- Silence of the aeons: Three billion years of microbial evolution -- Fuse to the Cambrian Explosion: Snowball earth, environmental change and the first animals -- The Bolsover Dragonfly: Oxygen and the rise of the giants -- Treachery in the air: oxygen poisoning and x-irradiation: A mechanism in common -- Green planet: Radiation and the evolution of photosynthesis -- Looking for LUCA: Last ancestor in an age before oxygen -- Portrait of a paradox: Vitamin C and the many faces of an antioxidant -- The antioxidant machine: a hundred and one ways of living with oxygen -- Sex and the art of bodily maintenance: Trade-offs in the evolution of ageing -- Eat! or you'll live forever: The triangle of food, sex and longevity -- Gender bender: The rate of living and the need for sexes -- Beyond genes and destiny: The double-agent theory of ageing and disease -- Life, death and oxygen: Lessons from evolution on the future of ageing -- Glossary.
target_audience General
target_audience_full General Interest
title Oxygen : the molecule that made the world
title_alt Molecule that made the world., Oxygen.
title_display Oxygen : the molecule that made the world
title_full Oxygen : the molecule that made the world / Nick Lane
title_short Oxygen :
title_sort oxygen the molecule that made the world
title_sub the molecule that made the world
topic Aging, Biogeochemical cycles Popular works, Oxygen, Oxygen Evolution Popular works, Oxygen Physiological effect, Oxygen Popular works, Oxygen in the body Popular works, SCIENCE Life Sciences Biochemistry
topic_facet Aging, Biochemistry, Biogeochemical cycles, Evolution, Life Sciences, Oxygen, Oxygen in the body, Physiological effect, SCIENCE