The impact of molecular biology on medicine has been enormous. The techniques of gene sequencing, DNA amplification and cloning have enabled great advances in the diagnosis, treatment and understanding of a variety of diseases. The importance of these new advances is now so great that no doctor can afford to remain uninformed about their relevance to his own field. However, the complex nature of the subject has meant that it has remained relatively impenetrable to the non-specialist. Respiratory medicine is no exception and the editors have recognized the need for a comprehensive survey of the techniques and applications of molecular biology aimed at the respiratory physician with no detailed knowledge of the 'new biology.'
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