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Encyclopedia of Molecular Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine. Second edition. Vols. 1Ц5. Edited by Robert A. Meyers

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Angewandte
Chemie
Encyclopedia of Molecular Cell
Biology and Molecular Medicine
Second edition.
Vols. 1–5. Edited by
Robert A. Meyers.
Wiley-VCH, Weinheim 2004.
ca. 690 pp. each
volume, hardcover
E 309.00 per
volume.—ISBN
3-527-30542-4
Molecular biology and genome research
are very rapidly developing fields. Week
after week, the leading scientific journals report new and interesting research
results. It is just three years since the
determination of the human genome
sequence was reported simultaneously
in Nature and Science. However, seven
years have passed since the publication
of the six-volume Encyclopedia of
Molecular Biology and Molecular Medicine, which quickly became established
as the standard work in this field. Therefore, a new edition has become necessary after those few years. The first five
volumes of this second edition have
appeared since the beginning of 2004.
However, is it appropriate to describe
this as just a new edition, or is it actually
a new work? The sequence in which the
topics are treated remains unchanged,
but apart from that similarity, scarcely
one stone on top of another has
remained undisturbed. The editorial
advisory committee now includes ten
Nobel laureates compared with the previous six, in addition to five other toplevel scientists. The final number of volumes will increase from six to sixteen,
and the total number of pages from
about 3000 to about 10 000. Of the original 300 articles, 250 reappear in the new
edition in revised form. To these have
been added over 80 new chapters on
cell biology and 70 on molecular biol-
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2004, 43, 4688 – 4689
ogy. The work now contains about
30 000 references giving convenient
access to the recent literature. The
editor, Robert A. Meyers, deserves our
warmest thanks for successfully coordinating this mammoth work!
Important topic areas covered in the
encyclopedia include: cell biology;
molecular biology of various typical
organisms; certain organs and systems
and their diseases; pharmacology; biomolecular interactions; biotechnology;
methods for studying the structures of
DNA, RNA, and proteins; nucleic
acids; proteins; peptides; and amino
acids. The individual chapters dealing
with these topics are written by leading
experts. Much space is devoted to
detailed coverage of genome research,
molecular biology, and molecular medicine. The extent to which drug mechanisms are covered in this edition will
not be known until the rest of the volumes appear. Where one might expect
to find a chapter on G-protein-coupled
receptors there is nothing; however, perhaps this topic will be covered under
“R”, where receptors should appear. I
expected to find a chapter on enzymes
between “Endocytosis” and “Epidemiology”, but unfortunately enzymes are
only treated very briefly under “Bioorganic chemistry”. Perhaps we will find
that all these topics are discussed in
greater detail under “M: Medicinal
chemistry”. A list of topics and chapters,
and several complete chapters as examples can be found, together with other
information, in the Web site http://
www.meyers-emcbmm.de.
Each chapter of the encyclopedia
begins with an index, definitions or
explanations of key terms used, and a
short summary. This enables one to get
a quick impression of what the chapter
contains. The references are classified
under books, review articles, and primary literature, which makes it easier
to look for additional information. All
the chapters have been carefully
www.angewandte.org
checked, and there are hardly any
errors. The same also applies to the
chemical formulas, which contained a
few errors in the first edition (an exception is the formula of neoxanthine on
p. 586 of Volume II). Regrettably, there
is no index at present, as it will not
appear (as the separate Volume 16)
until
after
the
completion
of
Volume 15. Thus, for example, a considerable amount of detailed detective
work was needed to discover a very
informative 10-page section on integrins
in the chapter on “Cell junctions, structure, function and regulation”. Despite
some cross-references (which give only
the titles of the chapters), many important topics are at present inaccessible
to the user, as they are scattered
untraceably throughout the chapters.
Thus, one can only look forward to the
completion of the work in the middle
of 2005.
It goes without saying that no library
can afford to be without this new edition. Everyone working in the areas of
molecular biology, genome research,
medical science, or clinical research
needs to have access to these volumes.
For most of the cell biologists, genetics
technologists, molecular biologists, biotechnologists, biochemists, medicinal
chemists, pharmacologists, toxicologists,
or clinical researchers who are likely to
use the work, owning a personal copy
will remain an unfulfilled dream. Therefore, it is to be hoped that the editor and
publisher will be able to offer a greatly
shortened version in hardcover or softcover form for the individual
researcher—that would further increase
the appetite for the encyclopedia.
Hugo Kubinyi
Weisenheim am Sand (Germany)
DOI: 10.1002/anie.200385193
4 2004 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
4689
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