Molecular Switches

A. Malcolm Campbell, Christopher Paradise

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This book introduces the concept of emergent properties, which are unexpected traits found only when two or more biological components interact. Experimental evidence of several emergent properties explains how hemoglobin can act like a high affinity oxygen carrier some times and then switch to a low affinity carrier exactly when and where it should. The second example presents how one particular virus determines whether it should stay latent within its host or whether it should kill its host and spread its progeny into the environment. The final example looks at the surprising properties that emerge as a consequence of random behaviors at the molecular level. It is unlikely that many people are aware of these unexpected behaviors that come from non-living molecules based on their structures.

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A. Malcolm Campbell

A. Malcolm Campbell teaches biology at Davidson College, NC. He received national and international education awards: Genetics Society of America (2013); American Association for the Advancement of Science (2012); and American Society for Cell Biology (2006). He was the founding co-editor in chief of CBE Life Sciences Education; founding director of Genome Consortium for Active Teaching (GCAT); and member of the American Society for Cell Biology governing council (2012–2014).

Christopher J. Paradise

Christopher J. Paradise is professor of biology and environmental studies at Davidson College. He teaches introductory biology, ecology, entomology, and topical seminars on ecotoxicology and renewable natural resources. He also occasionally leads a study abroad program in India.  His research evaluates anthropogenic factors that influence insect biodiversity at a variety of scales.  His current research interests include effects of land use patterns on pollinator communities in parks.