The Emergence of Life: From Chemical Origins to Synthetic Biology 2nd Edition
Addressing the emergence of life from a systems biology perspective, this new edition has undergone extensive revision, reflecting changes in scientific understanding and evolution of thought on the question “what is life?”With an emphasis on the philosophical aspects of science, including the epistemic features of modern synthetic biology, as well as providing an updated view of the autopoiesis/ cognition theory, the book gives an exhaustive treatment of the biophysical properties of vesicles, seen as the beginning of the “road map” to the minimal cell – a road map, which will develop into the question of whether and to what extent synthetic biology will be capable of making minimal life in the laboratory. Fully illustrated and accessibly written, The Emergence of Life challenges the reader directly with provocative questions, while also offering suggestions for research proposals taken directly from the author’s bench experience. Dialogues with contemporary authors including Humberto Maturana, Albert Eschenmoser, and Harold Morowitz make this an ideal resource for researchers and students across fields including bioengineering, evolutionary biology, molecular biology, chemistry, and chemical engineering.
This book has been written immediately after the book with Fritjof Capra, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision (2014), and the many fruitful discussions I had with Fritjof have helped to shape and enrich the new edition of the present book. I would also like to express my gratitude to Michel Bitbol, Rossella Mascolo, Michele Lucantoni, Angela Spaltro, and Pasquale Stano for their comments and continuous encouragement. The help of Pasquale Stano has been very important for the discussions in Part IVof this book. I would like to emphasize the collaboration with Angelo Merante, who was with me also in the first edition: he has been not only responsible for the many illustrations of the book, but also for the general organization of the various chapters, and for important critical comments and enrichments to the text.
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