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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.
- 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.
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?
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
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
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 Length of Microtubules—Key to Transport of Maternal Determinants in the Oocyte
The Nervous System Regulates “At Will” the Length of Microtubules
3. Epigenetic Control of Animal Development
Fertilization—Fusion of the Egg and Sperm Cell
Genomic Restoration in the Zygote
Epigenetic Regulation of Cell Differentiation
Epigenetic Determination of Early Development—The Embryonic Genome Is Still Dormant
Epigenetic Control of Early Development
The Mid-Blastula or Maternal–Embryonic Transition
Gastrulation—Formation of Embryonic Layers
Formation of Embryonic Germ Layers
Formation of the Neural Tube
The Primary Neurulation
The Phylotypic Stage
Formation of the Neural Crest
Epigenetic Control of Postphylotypic Development in Animals
Apoptosis in Invertebrates
Myogenesis in Invertebrates
Myogenesis in Vertebrates
Development of the Heart
Vasculogenesis and Angiogenesis
Formation of the Gastrointestinal Tract
Neural Control of Primary Sex Determination
Osteogenesis—Formation of Skeletal Bones
How Animals Know When to Stop Growing—The Body Size Set Point
How Long Animals Live—An Epigenetic Decision
Metamorphosis: The Same Organism Produces Two Radically Different Body Plans
4. Living and Adapting to Its Own Habitat
Adaptation—Surviving in a Changing Environment
Neural Control of Gene Expression
Making Environmental Signals Intelligible to Genes
Restricting Gene Expression to Relevant Cells Alone: Binary Neural Control of Gene Expression
The Source of Information for Selecting Sites of Histone Modification
From Where Does the Epigenetic Information for DNA Methylation Come?
Clocks and Calendars for Timing Phenotypic Changes
Discrete Phenotypic Changes Are Designed by the Brain
Transgenerational Developmental Plasticity—Insights into the Nature of Evolutionary Morphological Change
Where Is the Epigenetic Information for TDPs Generated?
Epigenetics of Behavior and Social Attachment in Animals
5. Rise of the Animal Kingdom and Epigenetic Mechanisms of Evolution
The Prelude to the Cambrian Burst of Animal Diversity
Is the Cambrian Explosion a Fact or a Paleontological Artifact?
The Cambrian Explosion Conundrum
Presumed External Factors Involved in the Cambrian Explosion
Current Hypotheses of Organic Evolution
The Modern Synthesis—The neoDarwinian Hypothesis of Evolution
Other Hypotheses on Evolution
The Control System Hypothesis of Evolution
The Evolution of the Integrated Control System in Metazoans
Evolution of the Integrated Control System and the Cambrian Explosion
Other Insights into the Possible Role of the Centralized Nervous System in the Cambrian Diversification
Centralization of the Nervous System and Evolution of the Animal Complexity in Bilaterians
On the Generation of Epigenetic Information in the CNS
The Antientropic Demon and the Advent of Cambrian Biota—Fine-Tuning Gene Expression
- No. of pages:
- © Elsevier 2013
- 1st April 2013
- Hardcover ISBN:
- eBook ISBN:
Dr. Nelson R. Cabej is the author of Epigenetic Principles Of Evolution (Elsevier, 2011) and Building The Most Complex Structure On Earth (Elsevier, 2013), in which he examines the role of epigenetic mechanisms in organismal evolution. He has published more than 40 scientific articles and 10 books in English and his native language of Albanian on evolutionary biology, epigenetics, and developmental biology. Dr. Cabej earned his Ph.D. in biology at the University of Tirana, Albania, and presently serves as a researcher in the Department of Biology at the university. He has previously taught biology at William Paterson College, Wayne, N.J, USA.
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
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