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The development of the placenta was a pivotal event in evolution. Without it, we would still be laying eggs instead of giving birth to live offspring. It represents the critical link between the foetus and the mother, but its character is extraordinary — it is, in effect, a foreign tissue that invades the mother's body. Compared to many other animals, the human placenta represents a particularly aggressive body. But how is it managed and controlled? How did such an organ evolve in the first place? And why is it tolerated by the mother? Y.W. Loke explores the nature of the placenta and what it can tell us about evolution, development, and genetics.
Astrobiology: An Evolutionary Approach provides a full course in astrobiology with an emphasis on abiogenesis and evolution. The book presents astrobiology both as a developing science and as the science of the future. The origins of life and the possibility of life elsewhere continues to be a subject of scientific and philosophical examination. These topics evolve with time as our understanding of life itself and the laws of chemical and biological evolution evolve. Astrobiology: An Evolutionary Approach aims both to provide a foundation in astrobiology and to describe the most challenging questions and problems in the field. The book begins with an overview of astrobiology, the origin of elements, and the formation of the solar system, planets, and exoplanets. Other topics covered include prebiotic synthesis of biochemical compounds, transition from abiotic to biotic, microorganisms in space, the roles of silicon in life, encapsulation of organic materials in protocells, cold and dry limits of life, virolution, and more. The contributors explore different aspects of astrobiology, reflecting the exciting journeys of their own research. This book will inspire students to explore the endless possibilities in astrobiology. The book includes end-of-chapter questions, a glossary of terms, and recommended references, making it ideal for use as a classroom text.
We inherit mechanisms for survival from our primeval past; none so obviously as those involved in reproduction. The hormone testosterone underlies the organization of activation of masculinity: it changes the body and brain to make a male. It is involved not only in sexuality but in driving aggression, competitiveness, risk-taking - all elements that were needed for successful survival and reproduction in the past. But these ancient systems are carried forward into a modern world. The ancient world shaped the human brain, but the modern world is shaped by that brain. How does this world, with all its cultural, political, and social variations, deal with and control the primeval role of testosterone, which continues to be essential for the survival of the species? Sex, aggression, winning, losing, gangs, war: the powerful effects of testosterone are entwined with them all. These are the ingredients of human history, so testosterone has played a central role in our story. In Testosterone, Joe Herbert explains the nature of this potent hormone, how it operates in mammals in general and in humans in particular, what we know about its role in influencing various aspects of behaviour in men, and what we are beginning to understand of its role in women. From rape to gang warfare among youths, understanding the workings of testosterone is critical to enable us to manage its continuing powerful effects in modern society.

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