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Table of Contents

1. Building blocks; 2. Homochirality; 3. Protometabolism; 4. ATP; 5. Electrons and protons; 6. Thioesters; 7. RNA; 8. Proteins; 9. DNA; 10. Membranes; 11. Protonmotive force; 12. Protometabolism revisited; 13. The LUCA; 14. The first fork; 15. Eukaryotes; 16. Oxygen; 17. Endosymbionts; 18. Multicellular organisms; 19. Homo; 20. Evolution revisited.

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A fascinating look at the key steps or bottlenecks that constrain the path to the origin and evolution of life.


'... fine, incisive prose. ... [De Duve] takes us on a dazzling trip within a cell, providing a beautiful exposition of life's biochemical cycles, their elegance, equilibrium and evolution.' New Scientist 'Christian de Duve gives his readers generous transparency in laying bare his reasoning and in the aesthetics of his current attempt at hard and beautiful problems concerning the unitary features of life and their origin. Few books allow this continuity of thinking over sucha broad range of interrekated problems.' BioEssays '... we should always be alert to the great problems, such as understanding the processes leading to the origin of life. Given past experience, such great questions will be solved - not by chance but by the prepared mind. This book is a start to preparing that mind.' Nature

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