Textbook of biochemistry with clinical correlations

Textbook of biochemistry with clinical correlations

Book reviews by an excellent review by Radda concerning the use of 3~p NMR in the study of in vivo cellular energetics in heart muscle or the brain. T...

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Book reviews by an excellent review by Radda concerning the use of 3~p NMR in the study of in vivo cellular energetics in heart muscle or the brain. This chapter terminates with a summary of the techniques of nuclear medicine used to investigate the oxygen dependent metabolism of heart muscle. This series of very short reviews has two defects. Published in 1986, it represents the state of research at the beginning of 1984, and thus loses some of its interest for specialists. Furthermore, two fields of research have been rather neglected: genetics and the study of the cytoskeleton. Despite these reservations and the excessive price of this book (75 dollars), these brief reviews deserve to be read. However, they will not !be cited as references for a very long time. Y. Henry

Textbook of Biochemistry with Clinical Correlations, under the direction o f T.M. Devlin. J o h n Wiley & Sons, New York, 1986, 1016 p. The first edition of this teaching t¢,ol was published in 1982. This volume represents the collective efforts of twenty four American biochemistry professors, coordinated by Thomas M. Devlin, who is a professor of biological chemistry at the University of Philadelphia Medical School. Thus this text is a work tool destined for the study and teaching of medical biochemistry. H,mce each chapter, 111 glr.hlLU,l l . l l t J I l

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ject in all biochemistry books, inclu¢'es a separate section, presented in gray-tinted bc,xes, giving the corresponding clinical correlations. The volume starts with a chapter devoted to the structure of eukaryote cells and is followed by 25 more chapters. In addition to the chapters typical of all biochemistry texts, we would like to mention those closely associated with physiology: the metabolism of diverse tissues and organs, iron and heme metabolisms, the transport of gases and the regulation of the pH, digestion, principles of nutrition (2 chapters). In summary, this book is an exceptional work tool, useful well above the student level, as witnessed by the rapid preparation of this second edition. However, I would like to add one remark concerning the SI units in biology that this book seems to ignore. ~ormal values in clinical chemistry are expressed by means of a highly heterogeneous system ~g/dl, mg/dl, meq/l), without forgetting,, for their anecdotal value, Sigma units for acid phosphatase and Bodansky for nucleotidase. R. Bourbouze

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Molecular Biology of Development, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Symposia on Quantitative Biology, Vol. 50, Cold Spring H a r b o r Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., 1985, 920 p. The latest volume in the celebrated annual series of the

Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology hears the number 50. This number which corresponds to a half a century of publication, calls for a celebration. This could not be better brought to mind than by the choice of theme and the title given to this volume: Molecular Biology of Development. For this series alone, such an ambitious title (which would even be sought in vain in the 49 preceding volumes) allows us to glimpse the realization of that which could only be dreamt not that long ago: to understand the mechanisms of development of multicellular organisms (from the egg, to the embryo, to the adult and then to the gametes) in molecular terms. The richness of this volume is provided by the presentation of the one hundred odd articles, which is for the most part clear and concise, giving an excellent idea of the strategies developed, the results obtained and the possible extensions to be made in the near future. Obviously, it is not possible to mention everything. However, upon reading this text, several things are most striking: on the one hand, the complementary character of the studies carried out on different organisms, which have, each one, in the study of development, their virtues and their limitations; on the other hand, the extraordinary impact of the methods of gene isolation and more generally the analysis of nucleic acids which in particular has enabled the characterization of different genes controlling this or that specific stage of development. In this regard, the benefit that could be drawn from the obser¥~L;Vii

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tant functions were conserved during evolution, must be noted. Several illustrations of this are given in this book, the most striking being that concerning the homeobox. This short DNA sequence (180 base pairs) was found at the 3' extremity of numerous genes implicated in the spatial organization of the Drosophila embryo. It could well be at the origin of the discovery of genes essential for development in diverse organisms, including mammals. Several articles describe the isolation, rendered possible by the homologies indicated above, of genomic sequences containing the homeoboxes, for example in Xenopus, mouse or man. To conclude, the many articles revealing the increasing use of a new technology: transgenesis, or the introduction of an exogenous DNA sequence into all the cells of an organism, including those of the germinal line. This methodology opens new perspectives for the study of development. In total, a volume whose contents illustrate very well the ambition of its title. This book allows one to convince oneself, if indeed one wasn't from the onset, that the Molecular Biology of Development has a past and a bright future. Ch. Babinet