Fourth edition. Vol. 1. James D.
Watson, Nancy H. Hopkins, Jeffrey W.
Roberts, Joan A. Steitz and Alan M.
Weiner. Benjamin/Cummings
Publishing Co., Menlo Park, CA, 1987.
816 pp. $39.95.

Instructors of introductory courses in molecular biology probably will not find a better textbook than the fourth edition of Molecular Biology of the Gene. As a reference source, the book is a formidable accomplishment that presents the extraordinary achievements in molecular biological research fully and accurately. The 1987 edition, which contains a wealth of new information, is essentially a new book, not a simple revision. For example, the previous edition (1977) barely mentioned recombinant DNA and did not describe advances resulting from cloning and rapid sequencing techniques.

Several major changes were made to maintain the overall excellence of the book. These include the addition of authors with expertise in new, expanding areas, and the substantial...

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