By Emily Monosson
In Evolution in a poisonous World, Monosson seeks to alter that. She lines the improvement of life's safety systems—the mechanisms that remodel, excrete, and stow away possibly damaging chemicals—from more than three billion years in the past to this present day. starting with our earliest ancestors' reaction to ultraviolet radiation, Monosson explores the evolution of chemical defenses resembling antioxidants, steel binding proteins, detoxing, and telephone death.
As we change the world's chemistry, those defenses frequently develop into crushed swifter than bodies can adapt. yet learning how our advanced inner protection community at the moment operates, and the way it got here to be that means, could let us are expecting the way it will react to novel and current chemical substances. This knowing may lead not to only better administration and preventative measures, yet probably therapy of present ailments. improvement of that wisdom starts off with this pioneering book.
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Extra resources for Evolution in a Toxic World: How Life Responds to Chemical Threats
Perhaps we didn’t think much about it because we figured they were obviously well adapted for their environment—otherwise they wouldn’t be there. Since then, dramatic declines in amphibian populations49 spurred research into the effects of a host of human impacts, including climate change, pesticides and herbicides, disease, and UVB. Because amphibians have little in the way of protective scales, shells, fur, or feathers, and because they often lay their eggs in water, they are particularly vulnerable to environmental conditions.
38 Our ancestors who farmed, hunted, kneaded bread, chopped wood, and walked miles to their neighbors’ houses did not sit behind glowing screens of one kind or another for eight hours a day. And, noted Jenkins, they didn’t spend lunchtime on the treadmill. 39 We have not (yet) evolved to be sedentary beings. Nor are we adapted to quickly flipping between sedentary and highly active lifestyles, including weekend jogging or high-intensity community soccer games. So how does our finely tuned antioxidant network respond to this sporadic but increased oxygen intake?
Yet it is also essential for life as we know it. Survival in an oxygenic atmosphere required the evolution of detoxification responses, and recent genomic analysis is helping to reveal the ancient origins of these defense systems. While theories about the earth’s historical oxygen concentrations are constantly in flux—ranging from a young planet with occasional pockets or “whiffs” of oxygen, to a virtually anoxic planet where anaerobic life flourished for billions of years—at some point, oxygen began to accumulate in the atmosphere, and life forms evolved that could not only cope with, but also exploit the highly reactive gas.
Evolution in a Toxic World: How Life Responds to Chemical Threats by Emily Monosson