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The Evolution of Vertebrate Blood Clotting

Russell F. Doolittle University of California, San Diego
Subjects:

Illuminated by a great assortment of original illustrations, this remarkable book charts the step-by-step evolution of vertebrate blood coagulation. Intended for readers with a background in biological science, it is specifically targeted for those in the field of molecular evolution and researchers in the area of blood clotting.

ISBN 978-1-891389-81-8
eISBN 978-1-938787-07-2
Publish date: 2012
232 pages, Clothbound

Summary

Illuminated by a great assortment of original illustrations, this remarkable book charts the step-by-step evolution of vertebrate blood coagulation. Intended for readers with a background in biological science, it is specifically targeted for those in the field of molecular evolution and researchers in the area of blood clotting. The orderly way in which gene duplications provided new genes for fine-tuning the system serves as a model for how complex physiological systems in general have evolved. The book includes suggestions for specific genetic engineering experiments that can be done to illustrate how molecular evolution works. An extensive glossary and guide to the current literature combine to make this book ideal for course use as well as for self study.

Table of Contents

Preface

Prolog

Part I: Laying the Groundwork

Chapter 1: Blood Clotting in Humans

Chapter 2: Clotting Inhibitors and Fibrinolysis

Chapter 3: Localizing Clots

Chapter 4: Proteins and Domains

Chapter 5: Fibrinogen and Fibrin

Chapter 6: Animals, Their Proteins and Phylogenetics

Chapter 7: Gene Duplications

Chapter 8: Genomes

Part II: Searching Through Genomes

Chapter 9: Genomes of Fish with Jaws

Chapter 10: Lamprey Clotting Genes

Chapter 11: Contact Factors and Other Embellishments

Chapter 12: Protochordate Genomes

Chapter 13: How the System Began

Afterword

Glossary

Appendix

PREFACE

The evolution of blood clotting is a subject I have been thinking about for more than half a century. The general outlines of how the process evolved became apparent early, but the details, which are where the fascination lies, only gradually became available. Fortuitously, modern genome biology is now providing the wherewithal for interpreting events rationally. This book is my attempt to assemble the facts as presently understood.

Initially, I was in a dilemma about what level of readership to aim for. Should I be addressing biochemists and molecular biologists, individuals who are already familiar with the underlying science and general concepts? Or, could I broaden the audience to include any educated person who is willing to learn some new vocabulary and take a few scientific principles on faith? In fact, I tried the latter, but it was simply too detailed for the non-expert or general reader. So I have retreated to a more conventional if narrower venue, this time presuming an audience comfortable with modern biology. I’m hoping that a graduate student in any field of biology will be able to read this book with profit.

Beyond that, I am aiming for two rather disparate communities: persons interested in molecular evolution but who aren’t familiar with the intricacies of blood clotting, on the one hand, and blood clotting researchers who may not have been staying abreast of developments in molecular evolution, on the other. This presents something of a dilemma in terms of strategy. Some chapters in the current version may seem overly simple to one group but may be quite challenging to the other, and other chapters may prove the inverse.
Russell F. Doolittle

Reviews

“This marvelous book is a superb exposition on a complicated, essential defense mechanism in vertebrates that is well worth the reading for general students of biology and of life-long students of the field of hemostasis alike.”
-The FASEB Journal, V 28, May 2014

“Couldn’t put it down! Although I already knew much of the science, it was explained in a way that helped me put this work into the context of the larger narrative of molecular evolution.”
-Kennth R. Miller, Brown University

“A fully enjoyable discussion of the evolution of blood clotting that can be appreciated by everyone from the seasoned protein chemistry to the students wanting to learn the logic behind evolutionary studies. Dr. Doolittle’s clear and engaging writing style makes complex concepts easy to follow.”
-Naomi Esmon, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation

“What a lovely little book capturing the life work of one of the leaders in the study of the evolution of proteins. From lamprey to man, Dr. Doolittle writes about the evolution of the blood clotting system with a historical perspective. This was a very enjoyable read.”
-Sandra Degen, University of Cincinnati & Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

Rated 5 out of 5 stars
-Stephan Köhler on “GoodReads.com”

Russell F. Doolittle University of California, San Diego

Russell F. Doolittle is an emeritus professor at the University of California, San Diego, where he has spent most of his long career. Her received his PhD in biochemistry from Harvard University in 1962. His research interests have centered on the structure and evolution of proteins in general and, more particularly, on blood clotting proteins, an interest he developed while a graduate student at Harvard. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.

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