This book is the study of all codes of life with the standard methods of science. The genetic code and the codes of culture have been known for a long time and represent the historical foundation of this book. What is really new in this field is the study of all codes that came after the genetic code and before the codes of culture. The existence of these organic codes, however, is not only a major experimental fact. It is one of those facts that have extraordinary theoretical implications. The first is that most events of macroevolution were associated with the origin of new organic codes, and this gives us a completely new reconstruction of the history of life. The second implication is that codes involve meaning and we need therefore to introduce in biology not only the concept of information but also the concept of biological meaning. The third theoretical implication comes from the fact that the organic codes have been highly conserved in evolution, which means that they are the greatest invariants of life. The study of the organic codes, in short, is bringing to light new mechanisms that have operated in the history of life and new fundamental concepts in biology. Marcello Barbieri (born 1940) is professor of embryology at the University of Ferrara, Italy. He has conducted research on embryonic development and ribosome crystallization at the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, UK, the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, USA, and the Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Genetik in Berlin. He has published books on embryology and evolution, and has taught biophysics, molecular embryology and theoretical biology respectively at the Universities of Bologna, Sassari and Turin. His research interests include embryology, evolution and biosemiotics. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Biosemiotics, was a co-Editor of the Springer Book Series in Biosemiotics.
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