"Couldn't put it down! This book is simply
wonderful. Although I already knew much of the science, it was explained
in a way that helped me to put this work into the context of the larger
narrative of molecular evolution."
-Kenneth R. Miller, Brown University
"A fully enjoyable discussion of the evolution
of blood clotting that can be appreciated by everyone from the seasoned
protein chemist to the student wanting to learn the logic behind evolutionary
studies. Dr. Doolittle’s clear and engaging writing style makes complex
concepts easy to follow."
-Naomi Esmon, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
llluminated by a great assortment of original illustrations, this remarkable book charts the step-by-step evolution of vertebrate blood coagulation. Intended for readers with a background in biological science, it is specifically targeted for those in the field of molecular evolution as well as for researchers in the area of blood clotting. After providing some general background in the areas of blood clotting, protein structure, animal systematics, and simple genomics, the book focusses in on the search for blood clotting genes in the genomes of non-mammalian vertebrates, including fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds. The inventory of genes found allows a reconstruction of events culminating in the complex clotting system observed in humans and other mammals. Also examined are the genomes of protochordates like the sea squirt, leading to conjecture about how blood clotting was first initiated. The orderly way in which gene duplications provided new genes for fine-tuning the system serves as a model for how complex physiological systems in general have evolved. The book ends with suggestions for specific genetic engineering experiments that can be done to illustrate how molecular evolution works. An extensive glossary and guide to the current literature combine to make this book ideal for course use as well as for self study.
About the Author
Russell Doolittle is an emeritus professor at the University of California, San Diego, where he has spent most of his long career. He received his PhD in biochemistry from Harvard University in 1962. His research interests have centered on the structure and evolution of proteins in general and, more particularly, on blood clotting proteins, an interest he developed while a graduate student at Harvard. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.