by Stephen R. Palumbi
The author presents a crisis that he contends can no longer be ignored. This crisis is evolution, as intensified by ecological change wrought by human activity. Three elements are necessary for evolution of organisms to occur: variation between individuals, physical differences that natural selection can act upon, and inheritance. People have provided these elements in the evolution of antibiotic resistance, HIV, insects' resistance to pesticides, and weeds' resistance to herbicides. Trying to improve our quality of life, we have inadvertently given nature the tools it needs to select for species that can hurt us. Palumbi suggests that as genetic modification of crops becomes commonplace, many more unexpected evolutionary effects will result. He ends his text by considering the provocative question of whether humans are still evolving.
Norton, 2001, 277 p., hardcover
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Copyright 2001, Science Service