الرئيسية Biochemical Education A dictionary of earth sciences: Edited by Stella Stiegeler. Pp 320. 2,500 entries, 200 line...
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44 BIOCHEMICAL EDUCATION Immunobiology of Proteins and Peptides, Vol. 1 E d i t e d by M . Z. A t a s s i a n d A. B. S t a v i t s k y , P p 513, P l e n u m P r e s s . New Y o r k a n d L o n d o n , 1978, £ 2 8 . 3 5 . ( B e i n g V o l u m e 98 in t h e Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology Series.) The aim of this volume, according to the dust-jacket, was to integrate diverse data obtained with different antigens and to promote an understanding of the antigens' similarities and differences. The volume is in fact the "Proceedings" of an International Symposium with the same title held in Minneapolis in 1977. Published as a "Proceedings" the volume would no doubt be acceptable; presented as a definitive volume on the subject it most certainly is not acceptable. The editors appear to have made no real attempt to coordinate the individual papers submitted, which range from obviously useful contributions to immunology to the frankly trivial - - other than collecting them under four broad headings, viz, antigenic structure of proteins; immunobiology of protein conjugates; i m m u n e response to synthetic polymers and to proteins; lymphocyte m e m b r a n e structure (2 papers), interspersed with inadequate discussion. Although the research worker will obviously find something of interest within the individual contributions, neither students nor their teachers will benefit from this volume. Although aesthetically an attractive book, its production appears to have been from relatively inexpensive "camera-ready script" and if this is so I cannot see the justification for a price of £28.35. John Watkins Protein Reference U nit Department of Immunology Hallamshire Hospital Medical School Sheffield S10 2RS, U.K. Comprehensive Immunology. Volume 5 E d i t e d by G. W . L i t m a n a n d R. A. G o o d . P p 381. P l e n u m P u b l i s h i n g C o r p o r a t i o n , New Y o r k . 1978. £ 1 8 . 5 8 . This volume is number five of an ongoing series which the blurb hopes . . ; . "will serve as source books on specific topics, and . . . present a collective pool of definitive analyses, thoughtful reviews and probing discussions of all aspects of immunology". The series started to appear in 1977 with volumes on immunology and ageing, biological amplification systems in immunology, immunopharmacology, and the immunopathology of lymphoreticular neoplasms. The present volume on immunoglobulins is the only one which can be regarded as being directly related to biochemical education. The books are extremely well produced, illustrated and printed, and I found the text uniformly clear and easy to read. This is a compliment to the volume editors who have obviously done their job properly in a work with over 20 individual authors. Some of the chapters are more relevant than others to the average biochemist, and it must in any case be admitted that this book would be more appropriate to final year biochemistry students and graduate students than to beginning students in biochemistry or medicine. For the researcher wanting to read into a particular branch of immunology, chapters of this book would provide a very good start. The chapters progress from the straightforwardly chemical (structure of immunoglobulins), through genetic aspects and biosynthesis, to the slightly more medical areas, each being written by a different author or group of authors. (I couldn't help noticing that all but two groups of authors work in American institutions). The chapter on the three-dimensional structure of immunoglobulins by Poljak which starts the book gives an especially lucid account not only of immunoglobulin structure but also of X-ray crystallographic techniques. A small criticism is that it is unfortunate that it was written so long ago (comparatively speaking!). In this rapidly developing field much happens in a couple of years, yet even in the 'note added in proof" the latest reference is to work published in 1976. I found the chapters on the significance of gene duplication in immunoglobulin evolution by April 1979 Vol. 7 No. 2 Ohno and on the phylogenetic origins of immunoglobulin structure by Litman and Kehoe particularly interesting and stimulating. This illustrates the value of the book as something to dip into at random, and will be a most useful background source for those who lecture on aspects of immunology. Another most interesting area is that of cryoglobulins and pyroglobulins dealt with by Zinneman: one cannot fail to be fascinated by the history and clinical manifestations of these conditions. All in all therefore the series does represent an important gathering together of immunological knowledge, which does fulfil its aims remarkably well. It is not so much a textbook as a series of essays by workers in the field which give the reader the first-hand account of the developments, experiments and concepts in the now enormous area called molecular immunology. E. J. Wood A Dictionary of Life Sciences E d i t e d by E l i z a b e t h M a r t i n . P p 3 8 4 . 3 , 5 0 0 e n t r i e s , 200 line drawings. A Dictionary of Physical Sciences E d i t e d by J o h n D a n t i t h . Pp 336. 4 , 0 0 0 e n t r i e s , 200 line drawings. A Dictionary of Earth Sciences E d i t e d by Stella Stiegeler. P p 320. 2,500 e n t r i e s , 200 line drawings. All p u b l i s h e d by P a n B o o k s , L o n d o n in a s s o c i a t i o n with t h e M a c m i l l a n P r e s s . 1978. E a c h £ 1 . 5 0 ( p a p e r b a c k ) . These three dictionaries were first published in 1976 in hardback format by the Macmillan Press at £5.95 (still available) and were warmly welcomed by reviewers. At this price however, the natural home for the books would usually be the reference shelves of libraries and the reissue as inexpensive paperbacks is to be welcomed. There is much to be said for the student possessing his own personal desk copy for instant reference as the need for a special trip to a library can have a dampening effect on curiosity. The possible ignorance of a biochemist as to the nature of Cyanophyta, Cycadophyta or Cyclostomata can be quickly corrected. A biologist could clarify his mind about gluca~,on, glucocorticoids or glucosamhte and he will find more extended entries (with diagrams) on topics such as the Krebs cycle, glyoxalate cycle, electron transport chain, glycolysis, DNA structure etc. The scope of topics covered by these three books is impressive but, of course, even 10,000 entries cannot cover everything one might seek and possibly a fourth dictionary is required to complete the set - - one on Applied Science including medicine. At present there are no entries for topics such as organophosphorus insecticides, defoliants, barbiturates, oedema, bilharzia or botulism. The three dictionaries are concise and cover a very wide range of topics with clarity and accuracy. Warmly recommended to students in higher education as excellent value at £1.50each. B. A. Kilby Biochemistry of Carbohydrates II E d . D. J. M a n n e r s . I n t e r n a t i o n a l Review of B i o c h e m i s t r y , V o l u m e 16. Series E d i t o r H. L. K o r n b e r g & D. C. P h i l l i p s , Pp 259. U n i v e r s i t y P a r k P r e s s , B a l t i m o r e , 1978. H a r d b a c k , £17.95. It is a sad truth in research that interest in a subject declines as it is more completely understood. By this test, carbohydrate biochemistry has lost the place in the centre of the stage which it occupied for many decades and a new volume of reviews on the subject may not excite much interest. If, as in this case, starch and glycogen biochemistry are excluded (on the grounds that they were covered in an earlier volume in the series) the resulting volume, considered as a book, will appeal only to a restricted readership. Within this limitation, however, the editor and his contributors