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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Bruce A. Fenderson, PhD (Thomas Jefferson University)
Description: The author expertly organizes, explains, and illustrates the chemical and cellular basis of life on Earth in this comprehensive and exciting introduction to cell and molecular biology. The 18 fascinating chapters cover topics ranging from control of gene expression to mechanisms of immune response. There is even a chapter on laboratory techniques. The focus of the book is on biological chemistry, with an emphasis on core concepts and experimental approaches.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a textbook for an introductory course in cell and molecular biology. The author hopes that students will visualize a world filled with "giant molecules and minuscule structures" that constitute the chemistry of life. He encourages students to consider the evidence that is presented to support a biological model, think of alternate explanations, and plan experiments that may lead to new hypotheses. One of the author's goals is to help students develop their independent, critical-thinking skills.
Audience: This is an excellent companion textbook for undergraduate and graduate-level courses in cell and molecular biology. It is written for students across a wide range of life science disciplines including general biology, developmental biology, biochemistry, and biophysics. The author is an outstanding research scientist and highly skilled educator who knows how to communicate effectively.
Features: This updated edition is filled with new micrographs and computer-generated images. The large, glossy pages are visually stimulating. Each chapter includes an outline and brief introduction. Many sections include open-ended review questions to stimulate critical thinking. Color-coded boxes highlight topics of biomedical interest and details regarding important experimental pathways. Each chapter concludes with a short synopsis and a set of analytical questions that probe students' understanding. Chapters include nifty molecular models, sharp electron micrographs, and colorful data that highlight experimental results. A glossary of keywords and references for additional reading appear at the end of the book. The inside front cover lists Nobel prizes for research since 1958. The inside back cover lists topics covered in the book that are of medical interest (e.g., statins, prions, and transplant rejection). The cover artwork provides an important teaching opportunity: beautiful molecular models illustrate the complexity of synaptic membrane vesicles. The textbook comes with a full complement of ancillaries, including online access to quizzes, flash cards, animations, and complete answers to the end-of-chapter analytical questions. Pre-loaded assignments, teaching presentations, virtual meetings, student support, and short tutorials are also available. In brief, the author and publisher have pulled out all the stops to create an excellent learning resource.
Assessment: Readers will experience a sense of awe and wonder with this book. It is polished in every detail, from the cover art to the colorful illustrations and micrographs that highlight current research. This book is the right size and has the right balance of content for an introductory course in cell and molecular biology, comprehensive yet concise. The open-ended questions that accompany each chapter are thought provoking and will help students learn. The emphasis on topics of medical significance will be appreciated by students interested in the health professions. I highly recommend this textbook for students and faculty in the life sciences.