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A Search for the Molecular and Genetic Origins of Multicellularity and Cellular Differentiation


Part of Developmental and Cell Biology Series

  • Date Published: September 2005
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521019149

£ 62.99

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About the Authors
  • The central thesis of this book is that Volvox and its unicellular and colonial relatives provide a wholly unrivalled opportunity to explore the proximate and ultimate causes underlying the evolution, from unicellular ancestors, of multicellular organisms with fully differentiated cell types. A major portion of the book is devoted to reviewing what is known about the genetic, cellular and molecular basis of development in the most extensively studied species of Volvox: V. cateri, which exhibits a complete division of labour between mortal somatic cells and immortal germ cells. However, this topic has been put in context by first considering the ecological conditions and cytological preconditions that appear to have fostered the evolution of organisms of progressively increasing size and with progressively increasing tendency to produce terminally differentiated somatic cells. The book concludes by raising the question of whether the germensoma dichotomy may have evolved by similar or different genetic pathways in different species of Volvox. Biologists and phycologists interested in development, genetics and cellular evolution will find this a fascinating work.

    • Reviews studies of Volvox biology that have spanned three centuries
    • The coverage is technically detailed and yet conceptually rich. Richly illustrated with over 100 micrographs from the author's laboratory, many published for the first time
    • Analyses both the ultimate (ecological) and the proximate causes underlying the evolution of the germ-soma division of labour exhibited by modern Volvox
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'I recommend [this book] unreservedly to all phycologists; there is something for everyone.' John Raven, European Journal of Phycology

    'This book will be the source to scoop plentifully for a long time.' Lothar Jaenicke, SGM Quarterly

    'In this excellent, well-written and well-documented monograph, Kirk has made a critical compilation of the accumulated literature on Volvox and has encompassed the whole field, the pinnacle of which is his own work.' Lothar Jaenicke, Trends in Microbiology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2005
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521019149
    • length: 400 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 153 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.607kg
    • contains: 77 b/w illus. 10 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The volvocales: many cellular innovations
    3. Ecological factors fostering the evolution of Volvox
    4. Cytological features fostering the evolution of Volvox
    5. Volvox V. Carteri: a Rosetta stone for deciphering the origins of cytodifferentiation
    6. Mutational analysis of the V. Carteri development program
    7. Molecular analysis of V. Carteri genes and development

  • Author

    David L. Kirk, Washington University, St Louis

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