Memetics Books


This is a collection of books related to the topic of symbiosis. The list is associated with my 2011 "Memetics" book - which is now available. For the main list of memetics books, see here.

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Evolution: A View from the 21st Century by James A. Shapiro (2011)
James A. Shapiro's Evolution: A View from the 21st Century proposes an important new paradigm for understanding biological evolution. Shapiro demonstrates why traditional views of evolution are inadequate to explain the latest evidence, and presents a compelling alternative. His information- and systems-based approach integrates advances in symbiogenesis, epigenetics, and mobile genetic elements, and points toward an emerging synthesis of physical, information, and biological sciences.
Virolution by Frank Ryan (2011)
From an acclaimed scientific thinker and writer comes the most exciting advance in evolution since Dawkins' The Selfish Gene — how the extraordinary role of viruses in evolution is revolutionizing biology and medicine. Combining Darwin, the double helix, the genome project, and viruses to explain the last great mystery of evolution, this book is the product of Frank Ryan's decade of research at the frontiers of a new science called viral symbiosis, and the amazing revolution that it has had in these few years. Still the greatest breakthrough in biological science, Darwin's theory of evolution depended on steady variation of living things over time — but he was unable to explain how this variation occurred. Since publication of the Origin of Species, we have discovered three main sources for this variation — mutation, hybridization, and epigenetics. Then on February 12, 2001, the evidence for perhaps the most extraordinary cause of variation was simultaneously released by two organizations—the code for the entire human genome. Not only was the human genome unbelievably simple (only 10 times more complicated than a bacteria), but embedded in the code were large fragments that were derived from viruses — fragments that were vital to evolution of all organisms, and the evidence for a fourth and vital source of variation — viruses. As scientists begin to look for evidence of viral involvement in more and more processes, they have discovered that they are vital in nearly every case — and with this understanding comes the possibility of manipulating the role of the viruses to help fight a huge range of diseases.
A Planet of Viruses by Carl Zimmer (2011)
Viruses are the smallest living things known to science, yet they hold the entire planet in their sway. We are most familiar with the viruses that give us colds or the flu, but viruses also cause a vast range of other diseases, including one disorder that makes people sprout branch-like growths as if they were trees. Viruses have been a part of our lives for so long, in fact, that we are actually part virus: the human genome contains more DNA from viruses than our own genes. Meanwhile, scientists are discovering viruses everywhere they look: in the soil, in the ocean, even in caves miles underground. This fascinating book explores the hidden world of viruses—a world that we all inhabit. Here Carl Zimmer, popular science writer and author of Discover magazine’s award-winning blog The Loom, presents the latest research on how viruses hold sway over our lives and our biosphere, how viruses helped give rise to the first life-forms, how viruses are producing new diseases, how we can harness viruses for our own ends, and how viruses will continue to control our fate for years to come. In this eye-opening tour of the frontiers of biology, where scientists are expanding our understanding of life as we know it, we learn that some treatments for the common cold do more harm than good; that the world’s oceans are home to an astonishing number of viruses; and that the evolution of HIV is now in overdrive, spawning more mutated strains than we care to imagine.


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