Saturday, April 23, 2016

Book Review: Jeff Bowles The Unselfish Geneome

This book is FREE TODAY!

Best-selling author and personal friend Jeff Bowles has a new book about aging.  Before recapping the book's premise, I'd like to put out a disclaimer-I am not familiar with the specifics of evolution, the selfish gene theory, or the other dozen theories and studies he goes over in the book.  So with my very limited mindset, I will try to explain this fascinating hypothesis.
Jeff's new book is about aging, or a way to prevent aging.  In the sci-fi novel world we call this immortality!  Is it possible?  According to Jeff it is.  He lays his case out by taking Evolution down!  (Jeff, I'm a Christian, Dah!  The Big Bang Theory will never make sense!)  But Jeff thinks it scientifically wrong based on the group selection as well as the selfish gene theory.
So what am I talking about?  I'm not really sure, but here's my Evolution for Dummies perspective:
Selfish Gene Theory:  Some theory that was "invented" by Richard Dawkins and states-This way of looking at selection, from the perspective of the gene, gets extended to such emergent behaviors as kin selection, eusociality, and altruism, by way of the fact that an allele not only gets propogated through the gene pool by helping the immediate organism survive, it also helps other copies of itself survive in other members of its species. Meaning, altruistic behavior is a natural outcome of selection, even if it is bad for the individual organism, because the genes themselves are acting selfishly by protecting other copies of themselves. Of course most genes don’t directly influence behavior, meaning that most genes are, at best, indirectly selfish – but in the case of parochial altruism (within a family or other inbreeding group), most organisms benefiting from altruism likely carry copies of the same non-behavioral genes anyway.

Group Selection: When organisms sacrifice something (including their lives) for the good of the survival of the group.

Jeff Bowles

Anyway, Jeff believes that aging has nothing to do with evolution, the selfish gene or group selection.  He mentions a direct link between menopause (the end of reproduction for women) and aging/death.  When sex hormonal levels decrease, then aging sets in. I think he implied that if we don't reproduce, then we are programmed to die.

Jeff cites dozens of animals and plants that produce asexually, have homosexual tendencies, and have extremely long lives.  He explains how our genes are activated and how certain chemicals/proteins/whatever cover/block the sequence of other genes before they are ready to be activated. He then goes into how we could use this to stop and even reverse aging.  
Jeff offers a few solutions that help stop aging-resveratrol and Fo Ti (a Chinese vine).
The book is outstanding and belongs in a biology class.  If I could sort of/kind of follow it, then anyone can.  Jeff writes with a teaching style that doesn't assume that you know everything.  He walks you through some really complicated DNA chemical reactions.  
Before reading this book, I always wondered about aging.  I've seen trees that are thousands of years old as well as reading about people in the Bible who were hundreds of years old.  Egyptian pharaohs reportedly lived ridiculously long as well.
This is a 5 star no-brainer.  Jeff's scientific imagination has no boundaries.  He might be onto the DNA 'fountain of youth.' 
Jeff-Here's one of my personal favorite holes of the Evolution Theory.  Rhesus monkey-supposedly where we "evolved" and why we are Rh positive in blood.  Problem-10% of the population is Rh negative (myself included).  If evolution is real, then we all should be Rh positive.  What do you think?  Bookworthy?  Loved the Unselfish Geneome!  Keep on writing, comrade!!!!

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