Evolution Made To Order

Author: Helen Anne Curry
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022639011X
Size: 34.40 MB
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In the mid-twentieth century, American plant breeders, frustrated by their dependence on natural variation in creating new crops and flowers, eagerly sought technologies that could extend human control over nature. Their search led them to celebrate a series of strange tools: an x-ray beam directed at dormant seeds, a drop of chromosome-altering colchicine on a flower bud, and a piece of radioactive cobalt in a field of growing crops. According to scientific and popular reports of the time, these mutation-inducing methods would generate variation on demand, in turn allowing breeders to genetically engineer crops and flowers to order. Creating a new crop or flower would soon be as straightforward as innovating any other modern industrial product. In Evolution Made to Order, Helen Anne Curry traces the history of America’s pursuit of tools that could speed up evolution. It is an immersive journey through the scientific and social worlds of midcentury genetics and plant breeding and a compelling exploration of American cultures of innovation. As Curry reveals, the creation of genetic technologies was deeply entangled with other areas of technological innovation—from electromechanical to chemical to nuclear. An important study of biological research and innovation in America, Evolution Made to Order provides vital historical context for current worldwide ethical and policy debates over genetic engineering.

Darwinian Agriculture

Author: R. Ford Denison
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400842816
Size: 43.75 MB
Format: PDF, Docs
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As human populations grow and resources are depleted, agriculture will need to use land, water, and other resources more efficiently and without sacrificing long-term sustainability. Darwinian Agriculture presents an entirely new approach to these challenges, one that draws on the principles of evolution and natural selection. R. Ford Denison shows how both biotechnology and traditional plant breeding can use Darwinian insights to identify promising routes for crop genetic improvement and avoid costly dead ends. Denison explains why plant traits that have been genetically optimized by individual selection--such as photosynthesis and drought tolerance--are bad candidates for genetic improvement. Traits like plant height and leaf angle, which determine the collective performance of plant communities, offer more room for improvement. Agriculturalists can also benefit from more sophisticated comparisons among natural communities and from the study of wild species in the landscapes where they evolved. Darwinian Agriculture reveals why it is sometimes better to slow or even reverse evolutionary trends when they are inconsistent with our present goals, and how we can glean new ideas from natural selection's marvelous innovations in wild species.

Why Information Grows

Author: Cesar Hidalgo
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465039715
Size: 21.22 MB
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What is economic growth? And why, historically, has it occurred in only a few places? Previous efforts to answer these questions have focused on institutions, geography, finances, and psychology. But according to MIT’s antidisciplinarian César Hidalgo, understanding the nature of economic growth demands transcending the social sciences and including the natural sciences of information, networks, and complexity. To understand the growth of economies, Hidalgo argues, we first need to understand the growth of order. At first glance, the universe seems hostile to order. Thermodynamics dictates that over time, order—or information—disappears. Whispers vanish in the wind just like the beauty of swirling cigarette smoke collapses into disorderly clouds. But thermodynamics also has loopholes that promote the growth of information in pockets. Although cities are all pockets where information grows, they are not all the same. For every Silicon Valley, Tokyo, and Paris, there are dozens of places with economies that accomplish little more than pulling rocks out of the ground. So, why does the US economy outstrip Brazil’s, and Brazil’s that of Chad? Why did the technology corridor along Boston’s Route 128 languish while Silicon Valley blossomed? In each case, the key is how people, firms, and the networks they form make use of information. Seen from Hidalgo’s vantage, economies become distributed computers, made of networks of people, and the problem of economic development becomes the problem of making these computers more powerful. By uncovering the mechanisms that enable the growth of information in nature and society, Why Information Grows lays bear the origins of physical order and economic growth. Situated at the nexus of information theory, physics, sociology, and economics, this book propounds a new theory of how economies can do not just more things, but more interesting things.

History Of Plant Breeding

Author: Rolf H. J. Schlegel
Publisher: CRC Press
ISBN: 1351588958
Size: 45.87 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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While there has been great progress in the development of plant breeding over the last decade, the selection of suitable plants for human consumption began over 13,000 years ago. This book provides a comprehensive treatment of the development of crop improvement methods over centuries. It features an extensive historical treatment of development, including influential individuals in the field, plant cultivation in various regions, techniques used in the Old World, and cropping in ancient America. It covers modern advances in the twentieth century including hybrid breeding, biotechnological improvement, and genetic manipulation.

Unfolding Cluster Evolution

Author: Fiorenza Belussi
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317301846
Size: 17.68 MB
Format: PDF, ePub
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Various theories have been put forward as to why business and industry develops in clusters and despite good work being carried out on path dependence and dynamics, this is still very much an emerging topic in the social sciences. To date, no overarching theoretical framework has been developed to show how clusters evolve. Unfolding Cluster Evolution aims to address this gap by presenting theoretical and empirical research on the geography of innovation. This contributed volume seeks to shed light on the understanding of clusters and its dynamic evolution. The book provides evidence to suggest that traditional perspectives from evolutionary economic geography need to be wedded to management thinking in order to reach this point. Bringing together thinking from a range of disciplines and countries across Europe, this book explores a wide range of topics from the capability approach, to network dynamics, to multinational corporations, to firm entry and exit and social capital. This book will be of interest to policy makers and students of urban studies, economic geography, and planning and development.

Emergence

Author: John H. Holland
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780192862112
Size: 46.58 MB
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'He's the man who taught computers how to have sex. And now, for an encore, he's working on a theory to explain the complexity of life and its myriad manifestations on planet earth.' New York Times In this book, one of today's most innovative thinkers, John H. Holland, explains the theory of emergence-a simple theory that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Emergence demonstrates that a small number of rules or laws can generate incredibly complex systems. From thecheckers-playing computer that learnt to beat its creator again and again, to a fertilized egg that can program the development of a trillion-cell organism, to the ant colonies that build bridges over chasms and navigate leaf-boats on streams, this fascinating and groundbreaking book containswide-ranging implications for science, business, and the arts. 'John Holland is an exceptionally imaginative person. Often surprising, and always engaging, he takes the reader on a journey from simplicity to complexity' Sir Robert May

Plant Resistance To Herbivores And Pathogens

Author: Robert S. Fritz
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226265544
Size: 71.58 MB
Format: PDF
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Far from being passive elements in the landscape, plants have developed many sophisticated chemical and mechanical means of deterring organisms that seek to prey on them. This volume draws together research from ecology, evolution, agronomy, and plant pathology to produce an ecological genetics perspective on plant resistance in both natural and agricultural systems. By emphasizing the ecological and evolutionary basis of resistance, the book makes an important contribution to the study of how phytophages and plants coevolve. Plant Resistance to Herbivores and Pathogens not only reviews the literature pertaining to plant resistance from a number of traditionally separate fields but also examines significant questions that will drive future research. Among the topics explored are selection for resistance in plants and for virulence in phytophages; methods for studying natural variation in plant resistance; the factors that maintain intraspecific variation in resistance; and the ecological consequences of within-population genetic variation for herbivorous insects and fungal pathogens. "A comprehensive review of the theory and information on a large, rapidly growing, and important subject."—Douglas J. Futuyma, State University of New York, Stony Brook

Spontaneous Evolution

Author: Bruce H. Lipton
Publisher: ReadHowYouWant.com
ISBN: 1458755622
Size: 63.12 MB
Format: PDF
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We've all heard stories of people who've experienced seemingly miraculous recoveries from illness, but can the same thing happen for our world? According to pioneering biologist Bruce H. Lipton, it's not only possible, it's already occurring. In Spontaneous Evolution, this world-renowned expert in the emerging science of epigenetics reveals how our changing understanding of biology will help us navigate this turbulent period in our planet's history and how each of us can participate in this global shift. In collaboration with political philosopher Steve Bhaerman, Dr. Lipton invites readers to reconsider: the ''unquestionable'' pillars of biology, including random evolution, survival of the fittest, and the role of DNA; the relationship between mind and matter; how our beliefs about nature and human nature shape our politics, culture, and individual lives; and how each of us can become planetary ''stem cells'' supporting the health and growth of our world. By questioning the old beliefs that got us to where we are today and keep us stuck in the status quo, we can trigger the spontaneous evolution of our species that will usher in a brighter future.

Weeds Of North America

Author: Richard Dickinson
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022607658X
Size: 16.37 MB
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“What is a weed,” opined Emerson, “but a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered?” While that may be a worthy notion in theory, these plants of undiscovered virtue cause endless hours of toil for backyard gardeners. Wherever they take root, weeds compete for resources, and most often win. They also wreak havoc on industry—from agriculture to golf courses to civic landscape projects, vast amounts of money are spent to eradicate these virile and versatile invaders. With so much at stake, reliable information on weeds and their characteristics is crucial. Richard Dickinson and France Royer shed light on this complex world with Weeds of North America, the essential reference for all who wish to understand the science of the all-powerful weed. Encyclopedic in scope, the book is the first to cover North American weeds at every stage of growth. The book is organized by plant family, and more than five hundred species are featured. Each receives a two-page spread with images and text identification keys. Species are arranged within family alphabetically by scientific name, and entries include vital information on seed viability and germination requirements. Whether you believe, like Donald Culross Peattie, that “a weed is a plant out of place,” or align with Elizabeth Wheeler Wilcox’s “weeds are but unloved flowers,” Dickinson and Royer provide much-needed background on these intrusive organisms. In the battle with weeds, knowledge truly is power. Weeds of North America is the perfect tool for gardeners, as well as anyone working in the business of weed ecology and control.