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Book Review Fortschritte der Chemie organischer Naturstoffe (Progress in the Chemistry of Organic Natural Products). Vol. 22. Edited by L. Zechmeister

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cular genetics
up to date almost to the last minute - in a
clear, readily intelligible, and “learnable” form, and, moreover, he has had the courage t 3 place it in the framework of a
brief presentation of the classical theory of heredity. In view
of this grandly conceived attempt and the tremendous effort
behind it, the reviewer hardly feels himself in a position to
criticize. If criticism is at all justified, it applies almost entirely
to the “classical” chapters of the book. Many topics have
been dealt with in a rather aphoristic way, and it is to be
hoped that the author finds the time to present them in a
more thorough fashion in the next edition.
More serious, in the reviewer’s opinion, is a general deficiency
of the classical section: the chromosome theory forms the
very kernel of classical genetics. It is true that to day only
historical interest attaches to the stepwise logical derivation
of this relation from experiments that have since become
famous, yet it cannot be simply omitted - pushed out of
sight - from a textbook of genetics, if only for didactic reasons. The reviewer would gladly receive a clear exposition of
these relations in exchange for reductions in other parts of
the book that have been included probably for the sake of
completeness (e.g. tetraploid heredity, “Heredity and Culture”). The description of life cycles could also be shortened:
information o n these matters may be essential for the nonbiologist, but it could equally well be given in a biologicaltechnical appendix. Whether, in fact, the principles of
Mendelism are better derived from haploid genetics than
from Mendel’s experiment is in the reviewer’s opinion, an
open question. One should proceed from the known to the
unknown: who, other than a botanist, knows what Sphaerocarpus is? And if haplonts, then why not unicellular organisms,
such as Chlamydomonas?
As in many parts of its cohtent, the book is unorthodox in
arrangement and productioh. Short summaries and references
at the end of each chapter, clear diagrams and schemes, and
occasional naively drastic comparisons are reminiscent of
American textbook make-up. All this admittedly is refreshing
and in no way lessens the value of the book as a source of
information. Nevertheless, the German reader would welcome a stylistic revision; in the long run it becomes annoying
to stumble upon phrases such as “Sexuality can take place
between any individuals of the species” (p. 86), and “Crosses
between different species are seldom succesful and even then
almost always lead to sterile bastards owing to the difficulty
of meiosis” (p. 80 - incidentally, in this lapidary brevity the
statement is untrue !).
All in all: a good and complete introduction into modern
molecular genetics, i.e. into the principles of molecular transmission of information in viruses and bacteria, and their experimental derivation; further, a first introduction into the
complexity of the phenomena of heredity in higher organisms
that invites further quests. The low price of the book permits
wide distribution, and this is certainly to be hoped for.
W. Beermann
[NB 4301337 IE]
Fortschritte der Chemie organischer Naturstoffe (Progress in
the Chemistry of Organic Natural Products). Vol. 22.
Edited by L. Zechmeister. Springer-Verlag, Vienna-New
York 1964. 1st edit., vii 340 pp., 15 figs., linen D M 88.(ca. $22.-).
Volume 22 of this progress series, which has been appearing
for 27 years, contains the following contributions:
1. K . Schaffner (Zurich) : Photochemical Transformations of
Selected Natural Products (94 pp., 413 refs.). This treats
fragmentation of carbonyl compounds (terpenes, usnic acid,
and griseofulvin), skeletal rearrangement of alicyclic ketones
(steroids, santonin, and related substances), and ring contraction of cyclic diazo-ketones (terpenoids); there are also examples of intramolecular substitution with hydrogen shift,
transformation of double-bond systems (including suprasterin2-11, homoannular dienes, tropolones, ere.), and the
photochemical behavior of pyrimidines, riboflavine, and
Angew. Chem. infernat. Edit.
1 Vol. 5
1 No. 5
amino acids. Particular attention is paid to results obtained
in the last 5 years.
2. G . Billek (Vienna): Stilbenes in the Plant Kingdom (29 pp.,
129 refs.). Individual stilbene derivatives (including the
glucosides) and 3,4-dihydroisocoumarins are recorded, as
well as isolation, determination of constitution, syntheses,
and biosyntheses of stilbenes; also data on their taxonomic
importance and biological action.
3. T. C . Halsalland R . T. Aplin (Oxford): A Pattern of Development in the Chemistry of Pentacyclic Triterpenes (37 pp..
239 refs.). The article supplements earlier reports in this
series (vols. 7 and 13). Results obtained in this field since 1949
are reported, the various system and numerous physical data
for 177 individual compounds are collected in tables, and
facts concerning pentacyclic triterpenoids of unknown structure are included.
4. J. F. Grove (London): Griseofulvin and Some Analogues
(55 pp., 121 refs.). This section treats the isolationsof grisans,
their structure and stereochemistry, reactions of the various
functional groups, optical properties, methods of detection
and determinition syntheses, biosyntheses, and behavior in
metabolism of animals and plants.
5 . P . J. Scheuer (Honolulu) : The Chemis!ty of Toxins Isolated
from Some Marine Organisms (H .pp., 53 refs.). This deals
with a n important field that has as yet been little worked on.
Discoveries concerning the toxins of teleosteres (tetrodopahu-,
and cigua-toxin), echinoderms (holothurins, starfish saponins), molluscs and protozoa (saxitoxin), annelids and coelenterates (nereis- and paly-toxin) are reported.
6. W. Keller-Schierlein, V. Prelog, and H. Zahner (Zurich) :
Siderochronies (37 pp., 123 refs.). After a description of the
detection, isolation, and action, the authors present in detail
the chemical and biological relations between the iron(II1)
trihydroxamato complexes (sideramines, sideromycins), isolated from microorganisms, and their chelating agents. The
stability of the complexes and the uses of desferrioxamin B
in human medicine are also described.
In sum, the present volume, whose use is made easier by an
author- and a good subject index, deserves warm recommendation both as introduction and for further information of
organic chemists, biochemists, and biologists.
[NB 4361343 IE]
H . J . Bielig and G. Rolins
Synthetic Methods of Chemistry, Vol. 19. By W.Theilheimer.
Verlag S . Karger AG, Basel-New York 1965. 1st Edit.,
Vol. 19 xvi + 498 pp., numerous illustr., sFr/DM 170.(about 8 43.-).
This book reaches the same high level of achievement as previous members of the well-known series. 996 Examples,
chosen with skill mostly from the literature of 1962-1964,
illustrate the newest advances in the synthetic field. In accord
with their importance, hetero-organic compounds, particularly those of phosphorus, silicon, and boron, come increasingly into the foreground, either as intermediates (e.g. in the
Wittig reaction) or as end prooucts. Much weight is laid on
the synthesis of the most varied heterocycIes. A particular advantage of this book is that many of the reaction steps described can be used as patterns for other syntheses. The method of arrangement, which is not praticularly simple but is
used consistently, is reinforced by a comprehensive index
(43 pp.). Nevertheless the reviewer would ask again whether
the treasures gathered here would not be made more useful
by addition of an index on the peephole principle.
S. Hiinig
[NB 456/309 IE]
Interaction of Metals andGases. Vol. 1 of the series ,,Thermodynamics and Phase Relations”. By J. D . Fnsf. Philips’
Technical Library, Eindhoven 1965. 1st Edit., 310 pp.,
numerous figs., Dutch fl. 36.- (about $lo.-).
In this volume, the author discusses heterogeneous gas
equilibria and the thermodynamics of solution of gases in
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