Photosynthetic Life, Origin, Evolution, and Future


Photosynthetic Life, Origin, Evolution, and Future Authors: , Format: Soft cover First Published: Published By: Oxford University Press View more from this series: Oxford Biology Primers
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Pages: 216 Illustrations and other contents: colour illustrations throughout Language: English ISBN: 9780198815723 Categories: , ,

Written primarily for mid- to upper-level undergraduates, this title the mechanisms of photosynthesis, its role in the evolution of plant-related organisms, from cyanobacteria to flowering plants, and its wider ecological and climatic significance. The primer brings together the latest research to show how the process of photosynthesis has evolved over the last three to four billion years – from its beginnings in bacteria to the various refinements now present in modern land plants. The authors explain how repeated endosymbiotic and gene gain/loss events have led to the evolution of the various algal groups and related non-photosynthetic groups, and how photosynthesis was modified as plants evolved and diversified into different ecological niches around the world.

The role of photosynthesis in the alteration of the geology and biology of the earth, which enabled the colonisation of the land by plants and animals, is also explored. Finally, this title examines the limitations of photosynthesis and the emerging biotechnological improvements that could make this vital process even more attractive as a source of clean energy, food and other industrial products. Photosynthetic Life is available for students and institutions to purchase in a variety of formats, and is supported by online resources.


  • 1: Photosynthesis, oxygen and the evolution of life
  • 2: Bacterial origins of photosynthesis
  • 3: Eukaryotic photosynthesis
  • 4: Endosymbiosis: How eukaryotes acquired photosynthesis
  • 5: Evolution of the algae
  • 6: Evolution of the land plants
  • 7: Future prospects for photosynthesis and plant evolution
Weight0.6 kg





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Author Biography

Author Biography: Denis Murphy is Emeritus Professor of Biotechnology at the University of South Wales, UK with over 40 years' experience in teaching and research in plant and agricultural sciences. Following undergraduate studies in Cell Biology and Biology/Biochemistry at Kings College London and the University of York, he studied for a PhD at York in the photosynthesis lab of Prof Rachel Leech. In 1977, he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to carry out postdoctoral research on plant lipids in the lab of Professor Paul Stumpf at the University of California, Davis, followed by a Royal Society visiting fellowship in the photosynthesis lab of Dr Jan Anderson at CSIRO, Canberra, Australia. From 1990-2000 he was Head of Brassica & Oilseeds Research Department at John Innes Centre. In 2001 he joined the University of Glamorgan as Head of the Biotechnology Unit. In 2012 he established the Genomics and Computation Biology Research Group at University of South Wales, and was elected as Fellow of the Biology Society. Tanai Cardona is an Advanced Research Fellow, leader of the Molecular Evolution Lab at Imperial College London, and holder of a prestigious UKRI Futures Leaders Fellowship. He obtained a BS degree in biology from University of Los Andes in Colombia, followed by a doctorate in chemistry from Uppsala University in Sweden. He then joined the Commission for Atomic and Alternative Energies (CEA) in Saclay, France, as postdoctoral researcher where he was awarded a CEA Marie Sklodowska-Curie COFUND Eurotalents fellowship. In 2012 he joined the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College, London where he currently directs a research program investigating the molecular evolution and evolvability of the energy systems of living organisms. His major research focus is on the mechanisms of photosynthesis, and structure/function relationships of photosynthetic reaction centres, water oxidation complexes, chlorophylls, and oxygen-using processes. 

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