Building the Most Complex Structure on Earth

1st Edition

An Epigenetic Narrative of Development and Evolution of Animals

Authors: Nelson Cabej
Hardcover ISBN: 9780124016675
eBook ISBN: 9780124017290
Imprint: Elsevier
Published Date: 12th April 2013
Page Count: 308
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Building the Most Complex Structure on Earth provides readers with a basic biological education an easy and understandable introduction into a new epigenetic theory of development and evolution. This is a novel theory that describes the epigenetic mechanisms of the development and evolution of animals and explains the colossal evolution and diversification of animals from a new post-genetic perspective. Modern biology has demonstrated the existence of a common genetic toolkit in the animal kingdom, but neither the number of genes nor the evolution of new genes is responsible for the development and evolution of animals. The failure to understand how the same genetic toolkit is used to produce millions of widely different animal forms remains a perplexing conundrum in modern biology. The novel theory shows that the development and evolution of the animal kingdom are functions of epigenetic mechanisms, which are the competent users of the genetic toolkit.

Key Features

  • Provides a comprehensive view of the epigenetic aspects of reproduction, development, and evolution.
  • Highly rigorous, but simple enough for readers with only a basic knowledge of biology.


Students and teachers of life sciences, medicine, veterinary, psychology, botany.

Table of Contents



1. Control Systems in the Living World

The Nature of Living Systems

The Principle of Entropy and Erosion of Material Structures

What Does It Take to Build Improbable Structures?


Control Systems

The Control System in Unicellulars

The Structure of the Cytoskeleton

Centrosomes as Microtubule-Organizing Centers

Can the Cytoskeleton Compute?

The Control System in Plants

The Plant Bauplan and Control System

Hormones in the Plant Control System

Searching for the Plant Control System

Searching for the Controller of the Control System in Plants


2. Epigenetics of Reproduction in Animals

Newmann’s Machines: Living Organisms Defy Human Imagination

Reproduction in Unicellulars

Reproduction in Single-Celled Prokaryotes

Asexual Reproduction

Reproduction in Single-Celled Eukaryotes

Asexual Reproduction in Ciliates

Reproduction in Fungi

Asexual Reproduction in Fungi

Sexual Reproduction in Yeasts

Sexual Reproduction in Green Algae (Chlorophyta)

Asexual Reproduction in Green Algae

Sexual Reproduction

Asexual Reproduction in Metazoans

Sexual Reproduction in Sponges

Reproduction in Eumetazoans

Asexual Reproduction in Eumetazoans

Sexual Reproduction—the Prevalent Mode of Reproduction of Multicellulars

Production of Egg Cells—Oogenesis

Hermaphroditism in Metazoans

Sex Evolution and Sex Determination in Eumetazoans

Epigenetic Determination of the Primary Sex in Vertebrates

A Single Genetic Toolkit, but Breathtaking Diversity of Forms

A User of the Genetic Toolkit

Epigenetic Programming of Gene Expression in the Egg

Deposition of Maternal Determinants in the Egg

Regulation of the Len


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About the Author

Nelson Cabej

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Biology, University of Tirana, Tirana, Albania


"Nelson R. Cabej has written an ambitious and well-researched text on non-genetic control mechanisms in biology. The focus is on how living structures are built and maintained at every level from the intracellular to the architectural…It's designed as a stand-alone textbook for an advanced undergraduate or graduate course in epigenetics, or a book of interest to researchers."--Reference & Research Book News, October 2013