genital and acquired colour vision deficiencies. It is shown that visual information is often (but this is not a general rule in vision!) already processed in single retinal cells in the manner described by psychophysical experiments for the entire system. The book offers a detailed account of how information on complex visual functions is gained, by combining single-cell experiments and results from the system as a whole, but, as the title itself indicates, is far from being a thorough review of new developments in colour vision: it represents a thorough review of the author’s (albeit interesting) work.
Biochemistry. Geoffrey Zubay (Coordinating Company, Reading, Menlo Park, London, xxv + 1268 pp., US$39.95.
A. CATTANEO of Molecular Biology C.N.R. Rome
author). Addison-Wesley Publishing Amsterdam, Don Mills, Sydney, 1983,
The way in which the text was written distinguishes this new book on biochemistry from most comparable textbooks. The coordinating author succeeded in winning 25 (American) scientists for his plan to compile a series of contributions, which were then reviewed by 37 specialists who themselves had contact with another dozen experts. By this means, the - apparently repeatedly corrected - final version is remarkably free of errors - at least much more than first editions of “one-man books” used to be. The text starts with six chapters on “protein structure and function”, followed by “carbohydrate metabolism and the generation of chemical energy” (also six chapters). The next part treats (in five chapters) “lipids and membranes”, followed by nine chapters on “nucleic acids and protein metabolism”. The final part unites six chapters on “special aspects of biochemistry”, including, for example, the molecular biology of a bacteriophage, hormone action, neurotransmitters, visions and “origins of life”. This mere list of contents cannot give more than a first impression of the arrangement of the chapters. Since bioenergetic problems are scattered throughout the book, it is not easy to mention those parts which are of greatest interest to those readers who are mainly looking for these aspects. Here, the reviewer just selects the most important: two chapters on “enzyme catalysis” (both written by R. Brelow and the coordinating author), a special section on “ thermodynamics in biochemistry” (by L.L. Ingraham, but unfortunately without the necessary treatment of open system!), three chapters on anaerobic and aerobic ATP production (all by W.M. Becker), contributions on “photosynthesis” and on “vision and other reactions involving light” (both by W.E. Parson) and, last but not least, a treatise on “biological membranes” (by G.R. Jacobson and M.H. Saier, Jr.). The reviewer has read the book with great interest and profit. The well-coordinated chapters cover a
wide field including (parts of) plant and microbial biochemistry. There remains, however, the question of whom the team of authors expects as readers. Apparently well aware that the “normal” student will not be able to grasp all the valuable information contained in the more than 1200 pages, they seem optimistic enough to believe that “by judicious selection of chapters, the thought-provoking explanations and other advantages offered by this text” they might also reach those who are as a looking for “a less intensive course”. No doubt the text will be appreciated valuable contribution to the already very rich market in biochemistry textbooks, but the reviewer prefers to recommend it more to instructors than to students.
of Plant Physiology
H. METZNER of the University Ttbingen