So I don’t hate all books. Over Christmas I read Michael Lynch’s new book “The Origins of Genome Architecture”. One of the best books I have read in a long time. Well-written, clearly argued, well referenced and important. If you like molecular evolution, genomics or related topics you should definitely read this. I learned a lot about topics I already thought I understood well. The book is in some ways similar to his 2007 PNAS paper “The frailty of adaptive hypotheses for the origins of organismal complexity” but much more extensive in both depth and breadth. I have been very frustrated by comparative genomics and some of molecular evolution for a very long time. This book made me feel I wasn’t alone. The logic is simple, clear and devastating, providing an intellectual framework that will be useful to many wanting to look at genomic data.
If you are annoyed by the ease with which adaptationist explanations for pretty much anything in genomics are published you might also like to check out Jonathan Eisen’s “Adaptationomics awards“.
[Michael Lynch “The Origins of Genome Architecture”, 2007, Sinauer Associates, ISBN 9780878934843]
Strangely the UK Amazon site lists this book as authored by Michael Lynch and Bruce Walsh, although there is no mention of Walsh on my actual copy of the book. The US Amazon site lists only Lynch.