Neurobiology of Taste and Smellby Thomas E. Finger (Editor), Wayne S. Silver (Editor)
This updated version is an introduction to the study of the chemical senses (taste and smell). The interdisciplinary study of the chemical senses has given us a window into many complex brain functions. It involves a wide range of disciplines, including neurobiology, molecular biology, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, biochemistry, and psychology.
Description: This is the second edition of a multiauthored review of the current state of research and knowledge about the chemical senses. The first edition was published in 1987.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a broad survey of the chemical senses, stressing an overview of the results and interpretation, rather than technical details. This is a wide field of study, and a review book is helpful. The editors' objectives are very well met.
Audience: This book is written for students and new investigators in the field of neurobiology of the chemical senses. However, neurologists and psychiatrists may find it an interesting read, since it is generally well written and not too technical. The editors and contributors are credible authorities in this field.
Features: The chemical senses are covered in a systematic and logical fashion, starting with basic chemoreception and generalized chemesthesis, progressing from microorganisms to more advanced systems. Then olfaction and gustation are reviewed. In each case the discussion progresses from the basic molecular mechanisms to neural integration. Comparisons between several model organisms nematodes, fruit flies, and mice are used to great effect to promote understanding of the development of the chemical sensory systems. The illustrations are appropriate and the compact format of the book makes it easy to read.
Assessment: This excellent book is an example of a well written text in neurobiology. Since the first edition in 1987, the progress in genetics and molecular biology has led to major advances in this field and a new edition is appropriate. This book is a worthy addition to any medical library.
Read an Excerpt
In the concluding chapter in the first edition of this book in 1987, Lloyd Beidlerspeculated on the future directions of research in the chemical senses. Some of the speculation, for example, the use of genetics to study the chemical senses, proved to be accurate (see Chapter 3 in the current volume). Yet, it is doubtful that anyone could have predicted the explosion of research and interest in the chemical senses that has occurred in the past 10-12 years. The use of molecular biological and biophysical techniques has provided a wealth of new information that has, in many ways, transformed the field. It is this new information that has prompted publication of a second edition.
The objectives of the second edition remain the same as the first. We provide a broad survey of the current state of research and knowledge about the chemical senses. The book is intended especially for the students and investigators new to the field. Accordingly, we asked the authors to provide an overview of their areas rather than a comprehensive literature review. Results and interpretations were stressed over technical details.
The format of the second edition has been changed somewhat to reflect the direction the field has taken. The book retains the three primary sections: Part I, "Chemical Sensitivity and Sensibility"; Part II, "Olfaction"; and Part III, "Gustation." The separate chapter on chemoreception in invertebrates has been eliminated, since information about invertebrate chemoreception now is included in each of the remaining chapters where appropriate. A chapter on genetic models of chemoreception has been added to Part I. While this chapter focuses on three different species (namatodes, fruit flies, and mice), it describes how modern genetic techniques have been used to identify important molecular components of chemosensory systems. Rather than include a separate chapter on the vomeronasal system, we have included this information on the chapter on chemosensory signaling (Chapter 5) in Part I as well as in Part II (Chapters 6-9). This second edition also emphasizes transduction and molecular biology of olfaction and taste to reflect the flood of chemosensory research in these areas.
All of the chapters of this second edition have been entirely rewritten; most of the authors are new. They come from a variety of backgrounds and have contributed significantly to their respective fields. We believe they have provided a comprehensive description of the crucial issues and important developments within each area. If a particular area of chemical senses research was omitted, it was done so unintentionally. The editors apologize to any investigators who feel that their work is neglected or given short shrift. The chapters are not meant to be comprehensive reviews of an area but are designed to provide an overview and to offer appropriate primary and secondary sources for a student or investigator wishing to delve deeper into a particular area.
Thomas E. Finger
Wayne L. Silver
Denver, Colorado and
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
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