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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Juergen Mollenhauer, PhD, DSc (Rush Medical College of Rush University)
Description: This book focuses on the major events around translation: ribosomal structure-function relationships; tRNA; rRNA; errors in protein synthesis; modified tRNAs; modified amino acids; dynamics of translation; in vitro translation; and drug utilization. In short, this is a description of the protein synthesis machinery.
Purpose: The editor presents the book as "a collection of core methods and protocols .... to illuminate the inner workings of the protein synthetic machinery." These are interesting and important objectives, considering the naivete of molecular biologists expressing their proteins of interest here, there, and everywhere. The book is carefully edited, the chapters are well integrated, and the book delivers on the editor's promise.
Audience: The targeted readers are highly experienced experimenters. Although the book can be read by many others, the emphasis on methods leaves little room for general explanations of the subject of research. Only those with an intimate knowledge of the basics of protein synthesis will fully profit.
Features: The title is somewhat misleading. Exploration of protein synthesis is not really the issue, rather the tools of the synthesis machinery are covered. Perhaps a second edition should be renamed. On the other hand, a well-equipped biochemical laboratory might decide to test one of the approaches presented here to solve problems rather than something less sophisticated. There is little missing, except perhaps an extended, cross-referenced index that would include company names providing the materials used (though the contributors do cite these companies in the context of the material sections).
Assessment: The overall quality is very high. Even compared to similar approaches (such as the volumes of the Methods in Enzymology series), this book is still outstanding in its details.