Top 5 Popular Science Books, 2019 (World Scientific)

The Updated Evolutionary Synthesis (UES) is a definitive, comprehensive 21st-century update to Evolutionary Biology. 

Review from an Audible Listener:
“Major Contribution in New Thinking. 
Most fascinating listen by a scholar but understandable by all. Should be a requirement at universities.“

Evolution links Darwin’s early insights to the molecular realm inside living cells.

This updated evolutionary synthesis provides an accessible explanation for biological complexity that cuts through the confusion surrounding evolutionary theory in a practical way.

In addition to a wide-ranging survey of proposed updates to the “Modern Synthesis”, this title provides extraordinary new insights including emergent evolutionary potential and the generative phenotype.

Drawing on well-characterized empirical facts, Rethinking Evolution transcends classical Darwinian natural selection while retaining those core principles that have stood the test of time.


  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • About the Author
  • How to Use Rethinking Evolution
  • The Updated Evolutionary Synthesis (UES):
    • Overview
    • Emergent Evolutionary Potential (EEP)
    • Complex Interplay Between Empirical Discoveries and Conceptual Frameworks
    • Timeless Molecular Innovations
    • The Origin of Life
    • Combining the Origin of Life with the Origins of Complexity
  • From Genes to Complex Organization:
    • Levels of Organization That Transcend Species
    • From 19th Century Natural Selection to 20th Century Mendelian Genetics
    • From the “Modern Synthesis” to Molecular Genetics: What Was Missing?
    • The Origins of Multicellularity and Embryonic Development
    • Embryos Are Not Computers, and DNA Is Not Software
    • Shape-Specific Molecular Interaction and Binding Events (SSM-IBE)
    • The Genetic Algorithm (GA): Blind Production of the Combinatorial Phenotype
    • The Dual Character of Complex Adaptations
    • The Creative Forces Behind Evolution, from Darwin to Evo-Devo
    • Repetitive Sequences, Gene Duplication, and the Varieties of Genomic Variation
    • Biological Principles of the Updated Evolutionary Synthesis
  • References
  • Glossary
  • About the Cover Photograph
  • Index

Readership: General readers who want to understand the evolution of biological complexity, while gaining an essential background in modern molecular, cellular, and developmental biology. Essential reading for evolutionary biologists interested in an Updated Evolutionary Synthesis (UES); anyone studying general biology at the high school, college or graduate level; general public interested in learning how numerous empirical discoveries have led to a more plausible and comprehensive evolutionary theory. The UES retains core principles of classical Darwinian theory while recognizing the importance of emergent phenomena, and the molecular interactions that translate genetic information into biological structure and function during multicellular development.


From Press Release: “One of the stunning conceptual advances is that natural selection actually changes the potential for higher levels of complexity to arise, in a non-random fashion. There is more to natural selection than accumulation of incremental, random mutations. Each evolutionary innovation lays the groundwork for more complex innovations to emerge.”

Full Press Release

From Book Page: “The updated synthesis brings a broad spectrum of specialized research together to provide a more plausible naturalistic explanation for biological evolution than ever before. Perspectives ranging from the role of energy in the origin of life to the networks of protein-DNA interactions that govern multicellular development are woven together in a robust conceptual fabric consistent with 21st century cutting-edge research.”

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