Reddit meter
all mentions

Life Ascending

352 pages, 1994

science & nature

science & nature

1064 books


999 books

Nick Lane, a biochemist and science writer, draws on cutting-edge research in biology to construct the mosaic of life’s astounding history. How did life invent itself? Where did DNA come from? How did consciousness develop? 

Lane expertly reconstructs the history of life by describing the ten greatest inventions of evolution (including DNA, photosynthesis, sex, and sight), based on their historical impact, role in organisms today, and relevance to current controversies. Who would have guessed that eyes started off as light-sensitive spots used to calibrate photosynthesis in algae? Or that DNA’s building blocks form spontaneously in hydrothermal vents?

The Origin of Life

Nick Lane explores the fascinating topic of how life began on Earth. He presents a compelling argument that life may have started in deep-sea hydrothermal vents, a theory that challenges traditional beliefs. This is a great chance to dig into the mysteries of our existence.

The Power of Photosynthesis

Lane explains the importance of photosynthesis in the evolution of life. He makes it clear that without this process, life as we know it wouldn't exist. If you're curious about the role of sunlight in our survival, this book is a must-read.

The Intricacies of DNA

Life Ascending provides a deep look into the world of DNA and its role in evolution. Nick Lane breaks down complex scientific concepts into understandable terms, making it easier for you to grasp the significance of DNA in shaping life.

The Role of Sex in Evolution

Ever wondered why sex is so important in the evolution of species? Lane has got you covered. He explains how sexual reproduction has played a crucial role in the diversity and survival of species. This is a fascinating aspect to explore.

The Concept of Death

In Life Ascending, Nick Lane doesn't shy away from discussing death. He explores how death, while often feared, is a necessary part of life and evolution. It's a thought-provoking perspective that will make you see life (and death) in a new light.

Quotes 2

Life Ascending is a fascinating read that provides a deep understanding of evolution and life's complex processes. It's a must-read for anyone interested in the origins of life.

Bill GatesBill Gates - Microsoft Co-founder

Nick Lane's Life Ascending is a masterful, up-to-date and readable account of the nature of life and evolution. It's a book that should be read by everyone who has an interest in the subject.

Richard DawkinsRichard Dawkins - Evolutionary Biologist
Bill GatesRichard Dawkins


authorBrian Cox

Brian Cox