A renowned biochemist’s illuminating inquiry into the Krebs cycle and the origins of life.

Generations of students have learned how the Krebs cycle generates the building blocks of life and fuels the furnace of respiration. Biochemist Nick Lane is among the vanguard of researchers who ask how this complex, contradictory pathway of creation, destruction, and renewal within our cells could help us understand questions from the origins of life to the devastation of cancer.

In Transformer, Lane guides readers through the “conflicted merry-go-round of energy and matter” that is the Krebs cycle. Along the way, Lane brilliantly recounts the scientific detective work that discovered this process while deconstructing textbook views about metabolism. Transformer traces the primacy of the Krebs cycle—and its reverse—from deep sea hydrothermal vents and the “Cambrian Explosion” to the individual, yet universal, experience of aging. Enlivened by Lane’s talent for distilling and humanizing complex research, Transformer offers an essential read for anyone fascinated by biology’s great mysteries.

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