Origins of Life On Earth and in the Cosmos

ISBN-10: 012781910X

ISBN-13: 9780127819105

Edition: 2nd 2000 (Revised)

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Starting with the creation of an evironment suitable for the origins of life, this text describes key events in the evolution of living systems. It is aimed at scientists, students and readers interested in a scientific inquiry.
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Book details

List price: $105.00
Edition: 2nd
Copyright year: 2000
Publisher: Elsevier Science & Technology Books
Publication date: 1/4/2000
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 564
Size: 8.00" wide x 9.50" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 2.134
Language: English

Geoffrey Zubay is professor of biology at Columbia University. He has published more than 150 research papers and several books, including Biochemistry; Genetics; and Origins of Life on the Earth and in the Cosmos.

Preface
Creation of an Environment Suitable for the Origin of Life
Origin of the Universe
Newton's Universe Was Infinite and Static
Hubble's Universe Was Finite and Expanding
The Doppler Effect Shows That Almost All Galaxies Are Moving Away from Us
Rate of Separation and Distance Data Suggest That the Universe Originated about 20 Billion Years Ago
Quasars Have Anomalously High Redshifts
Isotropic Background Radiation Is Believed to Be a Remnant of the Big Bang
Current Evidence Suggests That the Rate of Expansion of the Universe Is Increasing
Formation of the Elements
Chemical Composition of the Sun Approximates Chemical Composition of the Universe
Five Stable Subatomic Particles and Many More Unstable Ones Have Been Identified
Four Types of Forces Account for All Interactions in the Universe
Prior to Star Formation the Only Elements Formed in Significant Amounts Were Hydrogen and Helium
Elements between Helium and Iron Were Produced in the Centers of Stars
Formation of Elements Heavier Than Iron Starts with Neutron Capture
Isotopes with Even Numbers of Protons Are Favored in Element Formation
Beginnings of Chemistry
Atoms Are Composed of Protons, Neutrons, and Electrons
Periodic Table Is Arranged To Emphasize Electron Structure
Atoms Can Combine to Form Molecules
Ionic Bonds Form between Oppositely Charged Atoms
Covalent Bonds Form between Atoms That Share Electron Pairs
Molecular Interactions Are Largely Due to Noncovalent Forces
Element Abundances of the Planets
Planets Must Have Formed from the Same Nebula as the Sun
Planets Differ in Mass, Density, and Composition
Chemical Clues Concerning Earth's Composition Come from Density Considerations and Analysis of Meteorites
Terrestrial Abundances of the Elements Are A Function of Element Abundances in the Universe, Chemical Reactions, and Loss of Volatiles
Jovian Planets Are Most Likely to Have Retained Their Volatiles
Isotope Dating of Certain Meteorites Indicates That Earth Formed about 4.6 Billion Years Ago
Geologic, Hydrologic, and Atmospheric Evolution of Earth
Earth Has a Layered Structure
Evidence for the Layered Structure Comes from Studies of Seismic Waves
Core Formation Occurred during the First 100 Million Years of Earth's History
Continental Movements Reflect Geologic Activity within the Mantle
Tectonic Plates Are Composed of Old Granites and Young Basalts
Volcanoes and Quakes Reflect the Existence of Convection Cells in the Upper Mantle
Liquid Water Covers Two-Thirds of Earth's Surface
Magnetic Fields Protect Some Planets from the Solar Winds
Surface Temperature Has Been Delicately Balanced for Almost 4 Billion Years
Earth's Intermediate Distance from the Sun Has Helped to Moderate Earth's Surface Temperature
Water and Carbon Dioxide Have Helped to Moderate Earth's Surface Temperature
Earth's Atmosphere Is Subdivided into Four Regions
Prebiotic Atmosphere Was a Reducing One
Logic of Loving Systems
Cells, Organelles, and Biomolecules
The Cell Is the Fundamental Unit of Life
Biomolecules Are Composed of a Small Number of Light Elements
Biochemical Reactions Are a Subset of Ordinary Chemical Reactions
Cells and Their Organelles Are Composed of Small Molecules and Macromolecules
Macromolecules Form Complex Folded Structures
Metabolic Strategies and Pathway Design
Thermodynamics Gives Us the Criterion to Determine the Energy Status for a Biochemical Reaction
Living Cells Require a Steady Supply of Starting Materials and Energy
Organisms Differ in Sources of Starting Materials, Energy, and Reducing Power
Reactions Show Functional Coupling
Thermodynamically Unfavorable Reaction Can Be Made Favorable by Coupling to the Adenosine Triphosphate-Adenosine Diphosphate System
Reactions Are Organized into Sequences or Pathways
Sequentially Related Enzymes Are Frequently Clustered
Activities of Pathways Are Regulated by Controlling the Amounts and Activities of the Enzymes
Both Anabolic and Catabolic Pathways Are Regulated by the Energy Status of the Cell
Regulation of Pathways Involves the Interplay of Kinetic and Thermodynamic Factors
Biochemical Catalysis
Given Favorable Thermodynamics, Kinetic Factors Determine Which Reactions Can Occur
All Catalysts Obey the Same Basic Set of Rules
Enzyme Catalysts Are Highly Selective and Function under Very Mild Conditions
Each Member of the Trypsin Family of Enzymes Is Specific for Hydrolysis of a Particle Type of Peptide Linkage
Storage, Replication, and Utilization of Biochemical Information
DNA and RNA Have Similar Primary Structures
Most DNAs Exist as Complementary Double-Helix (Duplex) Structures
Cellular RNAs Form Intricate Folded Structures Interspersed with Double-Helix and Other Motifs
DNA Replication Exploits the Complementary Structure That Forms between Its Two Polynucleotide Chains
Transcription Involves the Selective Copying of Specific Regions of Much Longer DNA Chains
Nascent Transcripts Undergo Extensive Changes Following Synthesis
Some RNAs Have Catalytic Properties
Proteins Are Informational Macromolecules
Cellular Machinery of Protein Synthesis Is Constructed from RNA and Protein Components
Code Used in Translation Was Deciphered with the Help of Synthetic Messengers
Biochemical and Prebiotic Pathways: A Comparison
General Considerations Concerning the Origin of Life on Earth
Earth and The Origin of Life
Getting the Chemistry of Life Underway
Evolutionary Aspects of the Origin of Life
Experimental Approaches Exist for Studying the Origin of Life
Biochemical Pathways Involving Carbohydrates
Breakdown of Sugars (Glycolysis) Follows a Linear Pathway with Many Branchpoints
Most of the Enzymes Used in Glycolysis Are Used in the Reverse Process of Sugar Synthesis
Pentose Phosphate Pathway Supplies Ribose and Reducing Power
Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle Continues the Degradation Process Begun in Glycolysis
Thermodynamics of the Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle Permits It to Operate in More Than One Way
Glyoxylate Cycle Permits Growth on a Two-Carbon Source
Prebiotic Pathways Involving Carbohydrates
Synthesis of Sugars in the Prebiotic World Is Likely to Have Started with Formaldehyde
Formaldehyde Was Probably Synthesized in the Prebiotic Atmosphere
Glycolaldehyde Catalyzes the Incorporation of Formaldehyde into Sugars
Strongly Basic Conditions Used in the Formose Reaction Are Not Conductive to High Yields of the Aldopentoses
Under Mildly Basic Conditions Formaldehyde Incorporation into Pentoses and Hexoses Is Greatly Reduced
Lead (Plumbous) Salts Catalyze Aldopentose Synthesis under Mildly Basic Conditions
Lead Salts Also Catalyze the Interconversion of Aldopentoses and the Synthesis of Aldopentoses from Tetroses and Hexoses
High Yields of Ribose 2,4-Bisphosphate Can Be Synthesized under Controlled Conditions from Glycolaldehyde and Formaldehyde
We Still Face Problems with the Synthesis of Ribose
Similarities and Differences between the Biosynthesis of Nucleotides and the Prebiotic Synthesis of Nucleotides
Overview of Nucleotide Metabolism
Biosynthesis of Purine Ribonucleotides
Biosynthesis of Pyrimidine Nucleotides
Prebiotic Synthesis of Nucleotides
From Purines to Activated Nucleotides
RNA Metabolism and Prebiotic Synthesis of RNA
RNA Metabolism
Prebiotic Synthesis of RNA
Effectiveness of RNA to Function as a Ribozyme Is Dependent on Its Capacity to Form Complex Folded Structures
Properties of Known Ribozymes
Amino Acid Synthesis Now and Then
Amino Acid Biosynthesis
Prebiotic Pathways to Amino Acids
Pioneering Experiments of Miller and Urey Suggest a Prebiotic Route to Amino Acids That Started in the Atmosphere
Extraterrestrial Sources of Organic Material
Chemistry of Translation
Steps in Translation
Rules for Base Pairing between Transfer RNA and Messenger RNA
Early Developments in Polypeptide Synthesis
Noninstructed Synthesis of Polypeptides
Ribozyme-Instructed Synthesis of Peptides and Polypeptides
Steps in the Emergence of a Translation System
Lipid Metabolism and Prebiotic Synthesis of Lipids
Fatty Acid Degradation
Biosynthesis of Fatty Acids
Synthesis of Phospholipids
Prebiotic Synthesis of Lipids
Properties of Membranes and Their Evolution
Structures of Biological Membranes
Functions of Biological Membranes
Evolution of Membrane Structure and Function
Possible Roles of Clays and Minerals in the Origin of Life
Did "Living Clays" Precede Nucleic Acids?
Clays Are Complexes of Cationic and Anionic Polymers
Are Clays Capable of Inheritable Change?
Could Clays of Unclear Nonclay Minerals Have Aided in the Development of the First Living Systems?
Evolution of Living Systems
Evolution of Organisms
Existing Organisms Have a Common Origin
Classical Evolutionary Tree Is Based on Morphology
Biochemical Record
Recombination and Mutation, The Ultimate Sources of Genetic Variability
Earth: An Ever-Changing Environment
Evolution of the Main Energy-Producing Pathway for Aerobic Metabolism: The Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle
Carbohydrate Metabolism in Anaerobes and Aerobes
Many Organisms Use Parts of the Krebs Cycle
Scheme for Evolution of the Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle in Prokaryotes
Evolution of Photosynthesis
Photosynthesis Depends on the Photochemical Reactivity of Chlorophyll
Photosynthesis Arose Early in Evolution and Is Still Widespread among Eubacteria
Origin and Elaboration of the Genetic Code
Triplet Code May Have Evolved from a Relaxed Singlet or Doublet Code
Middle Base in the Codon May Have Been the First One to Acquire Meaning
Amino Acids with Similar Side Chains Tend to Be Associated with Anticodons That Show Chemical Similarities
Amino Acids in the Same Biosynthetic Pathway Use Similar Codons
Amino Acids That Contain Chemically Similar Side Chains Frequently Share Two Code Letters
There Is a Three-Base Periodicity in the Reading Frames That Reflects Codon Usage
Synonym Codons Are Used to Varying Extents in a Species-Specific Manner
The Code is Not Quite Universal
Rules Regarding Codon-Anticodon Pairing Are Species Specific
Changes in Codon or Antocodon Use Follow the Route with the Least Number of Steps
Each Synthase Recognizes a Specific Amino Acid and Specific Regions on Its Cognate tRNA
Prospectus
Research on the Origin of Life Is A Unique Endeavour
Earth's Atmosphere Has Changed A Great Deal in the Course of Time
A Reducing Atmosphere Is Necessary for the Synthesis of HCN and CH[subscript 2]O
Phosphorylation of Nucleosides Requires Phosphate Activation
Nucleoside Formation Presents A Problem
Accomplishments and Problems Associated with Polynucleotide Synthesis
Sorting Out The Enantiomers: The Origin of Chirality
Translation Must Have Followed RNA and Ribozyme Synthesis
Early Functions of Lipids
Glossary
Appendix
Answers to Problems
Index
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