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The Music of Life: Biology Beyond Genes

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  84 ratings  ·  12 reviews
The gene's eye view of life, proposed in Richard Dawkins acclaimed bestseller The Selfish Gene, sees living bodies as mere vehicles for the replication of genetic codes. But in The Music of Life, world renowned physiologist Denis Noble argues that, to truly understand life, we must look beyond the "selfish gene" to consider life on a much wider variety of levels.
Life, Nob
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Paperback, 153 pages
Published April 7th 2008 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2006)
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Peter
Jan 06, 2013 Peter rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anybody interested in life science and origins
The whole is greater than the sum of it's parts.
"The music of life is a symphony. It has many different movements. Some melodies find echoes in more than one, but the movements are non the less distinct."
I don't want to over sell this book but it is fantastic stuff, combining the learnedness of Carl Segan with the conversational readability of Bill Bryson. It is so well written in fact, that on closing it I immediately google-searched (note the new verb) for anything else that he has written. It
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Justin Covey
Intriguing counter point to the popular gene determinist view of biology. We commonly think of DNA as the great determinator of life as it's the pathway of heredity and evolution, but Noble makes the case that DNA alone cannot do this. That it is virtually impossible to recreate an organism solely from its DNA, without also the egg cell and an understanding of the organisms embryonic conditions. In Noble's central metaphor DNA is not the program or plan it is normally imagined to be, but instead ...more
Theresa Truax-Gischler
Must-read integrative systems approach to human biology. Noble's book should be basic theoretical reading for anyone studying human development. Although not explicitly about child development, the book presents in clear language the basic tenets of dynamic, integrative systems concepts. This systems approach is an important antidote to the reductionist bottom-up or top-down approaches that have typified the major debates of our times -- nature versus nurture, genes versus epigenetics, structure ...more
Jeannie
In The Music of Life, Denis Noble argues for an integrative systems approach to evolutionary biology to complement the reductionist gene’s eye view that has prevailed throughout the past century. He begins by evaluating and reconstructing the framework of the metaphor used by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene to illustrate both the limitations of the gene-centric perspective and of the reliance on literary devices to convey scientific ideology. Noble elegantly moves outward from the genome, th ...more
Joseph D. Walch
Like New York City or the most complex space satellite, every cell in our bodies contain tens of thousands of moving parts that serve myriad functions. On top of that, these cells organize differently in groups to form functional organs which are in turn dependant on other organs in a system that sustains intelligent life. This book is the story of the delicate yet amazingly orchestrated biological systems that form the foundation of life.

This is a very interesting book that explores the paradig
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Juan F. Abenza
Reductionism is bad. Noble starts insisting very much in the fact that the scientific approaches are changing to became more wholistic, giving some redundant examples, and ends with a very interesting philosophical dissertation about the existence of the "self", the neo-dualism and the ways our language conditions us in our perception of the things. Worth reading it.
J Scott Shipman
Denis Noble has given us a powerful little book to frame our notion of the appropriate role of the genome in science. His approach is called an integrative systems approach and make a lot sense. Instead of the reductionist certainty plaguing the science genetics, Noble encourages a different tack. His use of metaphor and analogy is both illuminating and entertaining; I found his use of music to be the most compelling.

I purchased this book because I've been studying the application of metaphors
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Tjibbe Wubbels
Is this book about system biology? Or is it about language or more specifically metaphors? I really enjoyed the introduction and first chapter in which Mr Noble explains his theory. After that the theory gets repeated for different `levels of life` (cell, organ etc). Luckily for the reader it is repeated using these nice metaphors that keep you reading. In the last two chapters it becomes more vague and philosophical. It`s about the self being a process rather then an object. I guess it`s the ul ...more
Xin
The book has some parts on the latest research developments, but overall is not particularly informative if you have some biology background.
Ian Harrow
An enjoyable and stimulating polemic discussion about processes of life which uses music as metaphor.
Davut Guler
This nice books promtes one to remodel his look to life
Arunachalam Bharathi
A great book... a must read for any one interested in life.
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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...
The Music of Life: Biology Beyond the Genome The Initiation Of The Heartbeat Ionic Channels and Effect of Taurine on the Heart The Selected Papers of Denis Noble CBE FRS: A Journey in Physiology Towards Enlightenment Electrophysiology of Single Cardiac Cells

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