Epigenetic Processes and Evolution of Life  book cover
1st Edition

Epigenetic Processes and Evolution of Life

ISBN 9780367780524
Published March 31, 2021 by CRC Press
240 Pages

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Book Description

The book covers the possible story of emergence of life and its subsequent evolution, emphasizing the necessary evolutionary step negotiation of a common "language set" which kept all inhabitants in the biosphere together, ensuring a basic level of understanding among them. The book focuses on "protocols of communication" (both genetic and epigenetic) representing norms shared and understood across the whole biosphere, enabling a plethora of holobiotic relationships. Cooperative nature of organismal evolution and epigenetic processes as a major force in evolution are also covered. Topics discussed are illustrated in detail on selected casuistics.

Table of Contents


The Manifold of Prebiotic Evolution


Metabolism First

Replicators’ – Code first

Life from Nonlife: Establishing Rules and Codes


‘Universal Cell’

Life Is

Pillars and itinerary of the biosphere

Biospheric games

Towards a New Manifold: The Biosphere

Dating Life’s Appearance

Origins: Biosphere LUCA

Reconstructing the Past, Making Sense of the Present

Concepts of Heredity and Theories of Evolution

Descent with Modification

J. B. Lamarck

After Lamarck: Organic Memory

Experimental Embryology

Units of Heredity

The Age of DNA

Modern Synthesis

Evolutionary Developmental Biology

Phylotypic Stage


The Rise of Epigenetics

Phenotypic Plasticity

Organistic System Approach

The "Phenotype First" Approach

Niche Construction

Philosophical Approaches

Philosophical Turnoff on Causality

New Dimensions of Diversity

On Digital

Shaping DNA


The Hairball

Targeted Epimutations

Combing the Shapes of Nucleic Acids

Protein Modularity

Unrooted in the Norm yet Faithful to It



Information Boom

Quorum Sensing

Signal Transduction

Chance, Necessity, and Gratuity

Processing and Responding



The Tradition of the New


Phylotype again

Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance

Biased Mutations

Evolution by Cooperation: Communication between Different Lineages of Life

On Lichens, Squids, and Coral Bleaching


Intracellular Symbiosis in Multicellular Organisms


Bacterial Consortia

Mimetic Rings

I, Holobiont

Human Holobiont

Variation in Microbiome Within Individuals

Colonization Determinants

Functions of Microbiome

Fecal Transplants

Holobiont as a Unit of Selection


Life as interpretation

The Nine-Word Game

Species as Cultures





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Anton Markoš (1949), is a biologist at the Charles University in Prague, Czechia (department of philosophy and history of science). He works and teaches cell biology, theoretical and evolutionary biology. His books in English are Readers of the Book of Life (2002) and (with co-authors) Life as Its Own Designer (2009). Recently published papers include subjects such as in epigenetics, biosemiotics, language metaphor of life, and morphogenesis of bacterial colonies.

Jana Švorcová (1982) studied both philosophy and theoretical and evolutionary biology at Charles University, and currently works at the same department as Anton Markoš, her former supervisor. Švorcová teaches theoretical biology and publishes papers concerning non-genetic inheritance, evo-devo and philosophy of biology.