The Music of Life: Biology Beyond the Genome
by Denis Noble
What is Life? Decades of research have resulted in the full mapping of the human genome - three billion pairs of code whose functions are only now being understood. The gene's eye view of life, advocated by evolutionary biology, sees living bodies as mere vehicles for the replication of the genetic codes. But for a physiologist, working with the living organism, the view i...more
Hardcover, 153 pages
Published July 1st 2006 by Oxford University Press, USA
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Denis Noble, professor emeritus (Oxford), writes a polemical response to Dawkins' The Selfish Gene. Dawkins has been crowned, rightly or wrongly, King of the Genetic Reductionists (that who we are, what we do, how we feel, and what diseases we get are a function of our genes). Noble, on the other hand, makes an impassioned plea for a more wholistic approach to understanding what Life is, and therefore thinks in terms of systems rather than genes. In doing this, he employs musical metaphors in ea...more
I was a little disappointed with this book. It contains some good and thought provoking information on systems biology and on the expression and regulation of genes, but I found it rather slow moving and laboured. In my opinion, the author placed too much emphasis on using metaphors to explain the points he was trying to make (which, in fairness, he stated was his intent). I often found these confusing and I would rather have just had a presentation of his understanding of the mechanisms at play...more
The book is a brain-stretching delight: an impassioned attack on narrow thinking regarding evolution, whether from the general media or other, specialised scientists.. What makes this book interesting is the combination of state of the art knowledge in many totally different fields - it is rare to find a book with so many well founded and important philosophical implications of the scientific discoveries in our time.
Denis Noble is Emeritus Professor of Cardiovascular Physiology. He now directs the computational physiology research group. He was the first to model cardiac cells (in two papers in Nature in 1960) and has published over 350 research papers. He is one of the leaders of Systems Biology and has written the first popular book on Systems Biology, The MUSIC of LIFE (OUP, 2006).More about Denis Noble...