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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Roy E. Weiss, MD, PhD (University of Chicago Medical Center)
Description: This book in the Contemporary Endocrinology series contains reviews by experts in the field of the current knowledge on transgenic and knock out animals and what they have taught us about endocrine systems.
Purpose: Development of embryonic stem cells of the mouse opened the door for the use of this animal in understanding hormonal regulation as well as a model for human disease. Although there has been a virtual explosion of research in this area over the last 10 years, there has not been a single book that brings together all the information in the field of endocrinology. While transgenic reviews have been written and made part of a particular subarea of endocrinology, such as thyroid or diabetes or reproduction, there is a worthy objective in bringing all the subareas together in one book. The three editors have done a wonderful job in getting experts in the field to review their respective areas for publication in one book.
Audience: The title may imply this could be a laboratory manual. Actually it is not intended to be a practical "how to" book, but indeed is much more encylopedic and original. The authors of the individual chapters put together the information learned from their different animal models. Basic scientists in endocrinology will find this an important book as it puts together in one book areas that they might not otherwise be able to find summarized so well. Clinical scientists and clinicians will welcome the book for the insights into endocrine mechanisms.
Features: The book is divided into 20 chapters. The first chapter is perhaps the most technical, but it is an extremely well written review on techniques involved in germline genetic engineering with instructive diagrams. Some of the other 19 chapters discuss specific genes, such as Bc12 gene family, prolactin, oxytocine, and vasopressin. Other chapters are more system-oriented, focusing on such topics as control of ovarian function or skeletal biology or obesity. The index is very helpful as a resource to determine if a particular hormone or factor has been discussed in the book. Although it does not detract from the book's usefulness, a section on diabetes is missing.
Assessment: This month another book covering similar topics, Transgenic Models in Endocrinology edited by Maria Castro (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2001) has appeared. The Castro book is also excellent but less encyclopedic than this one. Although some of the topics are covered in both books, they are presented with a different perspective. Castro has chapters on POMC and CRF which are not in Matzuk et al. On the other hand, Matzuk et al. has chapters on prostate cancer, breast development, and the skeleton that are not in the Castro. While the Matzuk et al. is primarily by authors in Houston, Castro's book has a more international author list. Both books are very good and both are similar in content. If I wanted a broader, more inclusive book, I would choose the Matzuk and if I wanted a book with more of a neuroendocrine slant, I would consider Castro.