Eors Szathmary's scientific contributions

Publications (18)

Chapter
The most fundamental distinction in biology is between nucleic acids, with their role as carriers of information, and proteins, which generate the phenotype. In existing organisms, nucleic acids and proteins mutually presume one another. The former, owing to their template activity, store the heritable information: the latter, by enzymatic activity...
Chapter
The past 30 years has witnessed a debate between the holders of two very different views about how humans are able to talk. The behaviourists, following B. F. Skinner, argue that we learn to talk in the same way that we learn any other skill. Children are rewarded when they speak correctly, and reproved when they make mistakes. We can talk, whereas...
Chapter
Complex multicellular organisms, whose bodies consist of differentiated cells of many kinds, have evolved independently on three occasions—animals, higher plants and fungi. In addition, multicellular organisms with a lesser degree of cellular differentiation have evolved on a number of occasions. For example, the algae have given rise to ‘seaweeds’...
Chapter
The heat generated within a mound of the termite Macrotermes is carried upwards by a central air duct. The air then travels down along narrow channels close to the surface of the mound, where it is cooled, and where, as in a lung, oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged. The whole mound is an airconditioning system. Although the mound resembles a h...
Chapter
Cellularization has the following main aspects that we have to explain: • The need for active (self-generated) compartmentation when metabolism is liberated from the surface. • The origin of membranogenic molecules and membranes. • The origin and mechanism of spontaneous protocell fission. • The transportation problem. Simple membranes are not ‘lea...
Chapter
It is convenient to start with an account of the development of the flower in the crucifer Arabidopsis (Coen & Meyerowitz, 1991), for several reasons. The development of plants is in one respect simpler than that of animals: cells do not move relative to one another. Much of animal development is achieved by cell movement, contraction and adhesion;...
Chapter
By sex in eukaryotes, we understand a more-or-less regular succession of meiosis and syngamy. A natural consequence of this is the alternation of haploid and diploid phases in the life cycle. Eukaryotic sex significantly differs from prokaryotic sex in two crucial respects: the cellular mechanisms are quite different, and the transfer of genetic ma...
Chapter
The idea that there may be a conflict between different genetic elements—for example, between chromosomal and mitochondrial genes—is a natural one. A wide range of phenomena, from distorted sex ratios and male sterility in plants to the evolution of chromosome form, may best be understood in terms of such conflict. Before discussing examples, howev...
Chapter
Imagine that, when the first spacemen step out of their craft onto the surface of one of the moons of Jupiter, they are confronted by an object the size of a horse, rolling towards them on wheels, and bearing on its back a concave disc pointing towards the Sun. They will at once conclude that the object is alive, or has been made by something alive...
Chapter
Even if we take a ‘replicators first’ view of the origin of life, we still have to explain how a chemical environment arose that was sufficiently diverse for such replicators to be formed. As a minimum, we must explain the abiotic formation of sugars and amino acids, and of nucleotides or of some simpler molecules capable of base pairing, and hence...
Chapter
The origin of the code is perhaps the most perplexing problem in evolutionary biology. The existing translational machinery is at the same time so complex, so universal, and so essential that it is hard to see how it could have come into existence, or how life could have existed without it. The discovery of ribozymes has made it easier to imagine a...
Chapter
Two cellular mechanisms are essential for development. The first, gene regulation, makes it possible to switch on different genes in different cells, in response either to conditions external to the cell or to the activity of other genes within the cell. The second, cell heredity, ensures that these states of gene activity, once induced, can be sta...
Book
Over the history of life there have been several major changes in the way genetic information is organized and transmitted from one generation to the next. These transitions include the origin of life itself, the first eukaryotic cells, reproduction by sexual means, the appearance of multicellular plants and animals, the emergence of cooperation an...
Chapter
The basic structures of a bacterial and a eukaryotic cell are shown in Fig. 8.1. The differences whose origins call for an explanation are as follows: • The bacterial cell has a rigid outer cell wall, usually made of the peptidoglycan, murein. In eukaryotes, the rigid cell wall is not universal, and cell shape is maintained primarily by an internal...
Chapter
In the nineteenth century, ideas about development, heredity and evolution were inextricably mixed up, because it seemed natural to suppose that changes that first occurred in development could become hereditary, and so could contribute to evolution. This was not only Lamarck’s view but Darwin’s, expressed in his theory of pangenesis. Weismann libe...
Chapter
In this chapter, we discuss the origin and early evolution of genetic replication. The argument is complex, so we start with a brief outline. Section 4.2 discusses the nature of replication. We draw a distinction between simple replicators, limited hereditary replicators and indefinite hereditary replicators. Continued evolution requires indefinite...
Chapter
The establishment of a permanent and obligate coexistence of genetic entities that were once capable of independent existence played an important part in the origin of the eukaryotes, and, if our earlier speculations are correct, in the origin of cells and chromosomes. In this chapter, we discuss other examples of symbiosis. The term is used to inc...

Citations

... Recognizing kin and non-kin is a key factor in the study of social evolution (e.g., Holmes and Sherman 1982;Mateo 2002;Sharp et al. 2005;Gerlach and Lysiak 2006;Leclaire et al. 2013). Inclusive fitness theory suggests that related individuals are more likely to cooperate than unrelated ones (Hamilton 1964;Queller 1992;Smith and Szathmary 1997;West et al. 2002); thus, relatives would not be harmed, even when conspecific competition is high Pfennig 1999). This discrimination assumes a mechanism of kin recognition ability among conspecifics (Page et al. 1989;Mateo 2002;Wahaj et al. 2004). ...
... Is evolution characterized by some universal and asymptotic constraints? Especial difficulty in answering these questions poses the open-endedness of the evolutionary process itself (Longo et al. 2012) which changes not only concrete sets of individuals at a particular level, but also the potential to change the nature of the targets of evolution (Maynard Smith and Szathmáry 1998;Godfrey-Smith 2009). Therefore, given the current level of understanding, the best way to answer questions about the fundamental long-term nature of evolutionary dynamics is an empirical analysis of sufficiently detailed global scale and long-term taxonomic data. ...
... Eusociality, one of the major evolutionary transitions [1], refers to a social organization defined by cooperative brood care, overlapping generations, and a division of labour into reproductive and non-reproductive castes [2]. Eusociality has appeared independently across different groups in the tree of life, but is mainly known in arthropods, particularly in hymenopterans (ants, bees, and wasps) and in termites, as well as in crustaceans (snapping shrimp). ...