Textbook of Biochemistry with Clinical Correlations (Second Edition)

Textbook of Biochemistry with Clinical Correlations (Second Edition)

47 reviews and papers. It probably would not be the program of choice when maintaining a large growing bank of references unless its behaviour on a ha...

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47 reviews and papers. It probably would not be the program of choice when maintaining a large growing bank of references unless its behaviour on a hard disc could be improved. A G Booth, E J Wood

Book Reviews Textbook of Biochemistry with Clinical Correlations (Second Edition) Edited by T M Devlin. pp 1016. J o h n Wiley and Sons, New York. 1986. $39.95 ISBN 0 - 4 7 1 - 8 1 4 6 2 - 8 Four years after its first edition, we have a new Devlin, now with 24 authors instead of the original 20. some of them new. The book has not undergone any major change in format, the main revisions including an updating, and the addition of chapter-end questions and a Synopsis of organic chemistry. As before the text is enthusiastic, robust and easy to read, and the 26 chapter topics remain more or less as beh~rc. Some. of course, have hardly changed, whilst others have undergone major revisions. Most authors have added one or two new Clinical ('orrt'httions. but in contrast a chapter on amino acid n]ctabolism by Mchlcr has undergone complete revision with a totally new set of Correlations. Chapter 18, on RNA. has new authors but did not appc:lr to have undergone all that much change, whereas Chapter 20. on the Rcgt.lation of (;cnc l'xprcssion, again with a new author, has undergone a major rewrite, its befits a rapidly-changing :lrca. It] detail, one can sec XlUl]]crotxs snl:dl in]provcnlents and corrections stxch as the inclusion of ribbon diagrams of protein strt.eturcs, some figures which formerly occupied two pages sitlcways now fit on to a single page upright, the DNA section xtow containing Z-DNA axld Southern blotting, the section on ntlclcosonles re-worked, and the sue|ion on rctinoids now including their use [n skin tliseascs. There arc however some things still present that might with advantage have been removed or corrected. These include an incorrect ATP structure (Fig 4.16) although elsewhere it is correct, the fact that Figs I. I and 1.9 are identical, a nearly full-page figure of a Tisclius apparatus with. opposite a PAGE gel that is less than perfect (in the first edition this latter was presented with :t scan in the "v,'rong" direction: the scan is now reversed, but the gel is still poor), and the failure to include single-letter amino acid abbreviations in a table of 3-letter abbreviations. Also the comparison of the conformation of myoglobin and haemoglobin hits been spoiled by the separation of the Figures over a page. The |lill plots for haemoglobin are much oversimplified too. There arc areas where I thought more could have been included. For example, 1 would have thought that the complement system would now have warranted a section to itself and a separation from inmmnoglolmlins, imd that more coultl have been done with iron-sulphur proteins and on chcmiosmosis ( I V: pages) including links with other transport process. In this latter case the rcfcrcnecs have hardly bccn updated at all (latest 19SI)) whereas in the re-written section of glyeogcnolysis and glyeogenesis the Bibliography now includes some 1985 citations. A somewhat similar criticism applies to the RNA chapter where the original 8 references (1976-79) are now 10, but only three of them arc new (1982-83). In general I do not think it is vcry helpful to cite Method~ in Enzy,xology as bibliography in a student text. The questions are amusing and come with answers (that could be covered over by the student), but are somewhat complicated. There are five types of question, explained inside the front cover, and one has to get used to the various formats. In a way the student has to struggle with the question types as well as with the science. One type of question asks the student to pick the BIOCHEMICAL

EDUCATION

1 5 ( I ) 1987

'best" answer. I think that this invites value judgements, and in any case sometimes there seem to be more than one "best" answer. What I found most annoying however was the spacing/ printing of some of the questions. Here is an example from p 591. There is a picture of a Scatchard plot with the points of interest marked by capital letters. Under this we read as follows: 6. (QTI) The Scatchard plot, shown in the accompanying figure, could be used to determine kinetic parameters of an enzyme. Which letter in the graph corresponds to total binding sites in a Scatchard plot or Vm,,~ in an enzyme kinetic plot? A. Hormone C. Both B. Vitamin D. Neither 7. (QT4) The body svnthesizes its entire requirement. 8. (QT4) Exerts its effect at a site other than the site of its synthesis. 9. (QT4) May bind to a nuclear receptor, Now you have to know that QTI means "pick the 'best" answer", here a capital letter from the Scatchard plot. [Iowever QT4 is a different type of question where you put A if the item is associated with A only. B if with B only, C if with A and B, and D if with neither A nor B. So the answer to Ou. 7 is 'A" ie "The body synthesizes its entire requirement of hormone", and the answer to Ot.. ,,4,is 'C'. This is somewhat futile in my opinion, but the really irksome thing is the lack of spacing between the questions. There arc many more examples of this. and much r o o n l for flxtttre in]proven]ent. My other criticism is that the Review of Organic Chemistry (at the back) is rather basic, boring and unsystematic. It would only be useful for reference, but I suspect that medical students will not like it. Finally however one has to admit that even at the quite high price and still with only black and white photos and diagrams, this is a good text, and one which is especially valuable because of the Clinical Correhttions. This Second [-dition is to bc welcomed. E J Wood Photosynthesis: Energy Transduction ~ Approach

a Practical

Edited by M F I l i p k i n s and N R Bakcr. pp 199 IRI, Prcss, Oxford. 1986. £25 or £15 (pbk) ISBN 0 - 9 4 7 9 4 6 - 6 3 - 2 or 0 - 9 4 7 9 4 6 - 5 1 - 9 This book provkles a clear and lucid account of the basic techniques necessary fi)r the study of photosynthetic systems. After a brief introduction to the principal features of energy transduction, there is a chapter on the isolation of whole cells, chloroplasts, sub-chloroplast fractions and enzyme complexes, to which frequent reference is subsequently made. The remaining chapters concern the analysis of pigment-protein complexes, the applications of (mainly absorbance and fluorescence) spectroscopy, and studies of both electron transport and photophosphorylation. The methods arc described clearly and precisely, and arc enhanced by the tabular presentation of recipes and by wellchosen illustrations. Particularly useful (in Chapter 5) is a tablc of electron-transfer medilttors and inhibitors, with their solubilities in suitable solvents. Most methods described can be carried out using standard laboratory equipment - - but the limitations of such cquipment, and applications of more specialised apparatus (such as the leaf disc electrode) are also covered. There is a little overgeneralisation in places - - about ten pages are devoted to the theory of spectrophotometry and fluorimetry - - but on the whole this book will serve both as a useful introduction to many aspects of photosynthesis and as an invaluable handbook to experimentalists already in the field. J Andralojc