Seven Clues to the Origin of Life: A Scientific Detective Story

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, Sep 13, 1990 - Science - 131 pages
This book addresses the question of how life may have arisen on earth, in the spirit of an intriguing detective story. It relies on the methods of Sherlock Holmes, in particular his principle that one should use the most paradoxical features of a case to crack it. This approach to the essential biological problems is not merely light-hearted, but a fascinating scrutiny of some very fundamental questions. 'I know of no other book that succeeds as well as this one in maintaining the central question in focus throughout. It is a summary of the best evolutionary thinking as applied to the origins of life in which the important issues are addressed pertinently, economically and with a happy recourse to creative analogies.' Nature '... a splendid story - and a much more convincing one than the molecular biologists can offer as an alternative. Cairns-Smith has argued his case before in the technical scientific literature, here he sets it out in a way from which anyone - even those whose chemistry and biology stopped at sixteen - can learn.' New Statesman
 

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - yapete - LibraryThing

Very interesting idea that life originated from mineral precursors. Sounds implausable at first, until you realize that the evidence that life may have originated at the bottom of the ocean or even underground is becoming stronger and stronger (archea bacteria). May be right after all! Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

nm

Selected pages

Contents

Inquest
1
Messages messages
9
Build your own E coli
16
The inner machinery
22
A garden path?
31
Look more closely at the signposts
38
A clue in a Chinese box
50
Missing pieces
58
The claymaking machine
80
Gene1
87
Evolving by direct action
98
Takeover
107
Summingup The seven clues
114
Appendix 1
117
Appendix 2
120
Glossary
125

The trouble with molecules
65
Crystals
74

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

About the author (1990)

fm.author_biographical_note

Bibliographic information