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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Ian Glass, MD, FRCP, FRACP, FACMG (University of Washington School of Medicine)
Description: This is the third edition of a succinct 150-page book outlining the role of molecular biology in medicine. It is a timely publication, with the previous edition published eight years ago.
Purpose: The author aims to simply and directly describe the scientific advances of the molecular revolution, and summarize their various applications in medicine. Unlike other short, focused books, this book presents the "big picture," a lofty aim. Ambitiously, the author attempts to convey the awesome potential of the scientific techniques behind such advances in medical diagnosis, genetic counseling, and therapeutic approaches, all the while "keeping it simple," another worthy goal.
Audience: The book is divided into two parts; the first discusses the basics of molecular biology and genetics in less than 60 pages. In the second part, a molecular approach to disease is presented in general terms but uses specific and sometimes historic examples in infectious, genetic, immune, and neoplastic diseases. Finally, an ambitious chapter on molecular therapeutic approaches ensues. The appeal of this book lies in its accessibility. There are tables, line drawings/cartoons, and occasional photographic figures, which are relatively clear and simple in their presentation. Although used sparingly, they are sufficient to meet the aims of the book. Helpful and relevant readings are suggested at the end of each chapter.
Features: This book is intended primarily for physicians, especially those with only a passing acquaintance with the genetic revolution and who may not know where to begin to develop insights.
Assessment: This is a very impressive little book that very largely succeeds in its desire to summarize and to communicate rapid and sometimes bewildering scientific advances in medicine. Within the constraints of the size and length the author has self-imposed, the book manages in a low-key way to convey the excitement of the awesome potential of molecular genetics in diagnosis and therapeutic approaches. Moreover, the author's intentions of "keeping it simple" gives it a freshness that few other books achieve. For those who seek that special combination of a small, simple, easy to read, "big picture" book, yet with comprehendible and specific illustrative examples, this is the book.