Masatoshi Nei. Columbia University
Press, New York, 1987. 512 pp. $50.

Recent developments in molecular biology mean that now it is possible to decipher genetic messages of parts of the genome from almost any organism. In the past, molecular biologists tended to assume that determination of the sequence of a single copy of a given gene for a given species provided sufficient information to speak meaningfully about the DNA sequence of the gene. Now there is increasing recognition that a great diversity of DNA sequences are present within a species, even at the level of a single gene. Understanding data on DNA sequences requires an interpretation, in terms of what we know of evolutionary mechanisms, of how variation within species becomes translated into differences between species.

This book, by Masatoshi Nei, professor of population genetics at the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, provides the...

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