Evolutionary Bioinformatics

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) who, with Ewald Hering, saw heredity as the transfer of stored information. This self portrait is reproduced with the permission of the Master and Fellows of St. John's College, Cambridge

The double-helical structure of DNA, with base A pairing with base T, and base G pairing with base C. This figure was kindly prepared for the book by  Richard R. Sinden

Erwin Chargaff (1905-2002) whose four "rules" provide the foundation for the book. This photograph is reproduced from the collection of the National Library of Medicine, Washington.

Donald R. Forsdyke



Published by Springer (November 2006) 


Books on bioinformatics began appearing in the mid 80s and primarily served gene-hunters, and biologists who wished to construct family trees showing tidy lines of descent. Given the great pharmaceutical industry interest in genes, this trend has continued in most subsequent texts. These deal extensively with the exciting topic of gene discovery and searching databases, but hardly consider genomes as information channels through which multiple forms and levels of information, including genic information, have passed through the generations. 

    This book identifies the types of information that genomes transmit, shows how competition between different types is resolved in the genomes of different organisms, and identifies the evolutionary forces involved. The early chapters relate the form of information with which we are most familiar, namely written texts, to the DNA text that is our genome. This lends itself well to introducing historical aspects dating back to the nineteenth century.


Prologue - To Select is Not To Preserve  IX-XX  
Part 1. Information and DNA   1
1 Memory - A Phenomenon of Arrangement 3
2 Chargaff's First Parity Rule  29
3 Information Levels and Barriers    47
Part 2. Parity and Non-Parity 67
4 Chargaff's Second Parity Rule 69
5 Stems and Loops  89
6 Chargaff's Cluster Rule  105
Part 3. Mutation and Speciation 119
7 Species Survival and Arrival  121
8 Chargaff's GC rule 155
Part 4. Conflict within Genomes 181
9 Conflict Resolution 183
10 Exons and Introns  207
11 Complexity 225
Part 5. Conflict between Genomes 248
12 Self/Not-Self?  250
13 The Crowded Cytosol 273
Part 6. Sex and Error-Correction 291
14 Rebooting the Genome   293
15 The Fifth Letter 315
Epilogue - To Perceive is Not To Select  325
Appendix 1 What the Graph Says     337
Appendix 2 Scoring Information Potential   343
Appendix 3 No Line? 347
Acknowledgements, References and Index 357 -424

ISBN: 0-387-33418-1      86 illustrations       $59.00    44.95

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This page was established in February 2006 and was last edited 09 Nov 2020 by D. R. Forsdyke. The double-helix figure was kindly prepared by Richard R. Sinden, adapted from his book DNA Structure and Function with the permission of the publisher. Permission to reproduce the photograph of Samuel Butler was given by the Master and Fellows of St. John's College, Cambridge. The photograph of Erwin Chargaff is from the collection of the National Library of Medicine, Washington, USA.