Cover image for Proteins, enzymes, genes : the interplay of chemistry and biology
Proteins, enzymes, genes : the interplay of chemistry and biology
Fruton, Joseph S. (Joseph Stewart), 1912-2007.
Publication Information:
New Haven [Conn.] : Yale University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xii, 783 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm
Format :


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QP511 .F783 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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An account of how biochemistry and molecular biology emerged as major scientific disciplines from the interplay of chemical and biological ideas and practices. It examines their institutional settings, and discusses their impact on medical, pharmaceutical and agricultural practice.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Fruton, a biochemist turned historian, has revised and updated portions of his previous book, Molecules and Life: Historical Essays on the Interplay of Chemistry and Biology (1972). Using contemporary scientific writings, he traces the historical developments leading to the emergence of biochemistry and molecular biology as a discipline, primarily after 1800. Not intended as a comprehensive history, the text focuses on the chemical study of proteins, enzymes, and nucleic acids, which is still a pretty broad topic. As a result, there is more breadth than depth. Somehow, Fruton loses the flow of writing he had in Molecules and Life. He does not follow any chronological sequence and jumps from topic to topic so much that the text is sometimes difficult to follow. The book's most valuable feature may be the bibliography, which runs over 180 pages. Recommended for graduate-level biochemistry collections.√ĄTeresa Berry, Univ. of Tennessee Lib., Knoxville (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

"Biochemist-turned-historian" Fruton examines how biochemistry and molecular biology emerged as scientific disciplines through the interplay of chemistry and biology. The book is designed so that the first three chapters provide an account of the historical development of ideas in science. The first chapter reviews recently written works on the history of molecular biology, while the second describes the development of academic biochemistry in Western Europe and the US and Canada. The third chapter discusses the philosophy of chemistry and biology. A further six chapters examine biochemical topics in a historical context. The first topic discussed is fermentation, because, as the author explains, it is the first process in which a biological change is explained in chemical terms. Succeeding chapters describe the nature and function of proteins, biochemical energetics, pathways, the chemical basis of heredity, and signal transduction. The work of well-known and not-so-well-known scientists is described in appropriate historical context. Each chapter contains extensive quotations from original scientific writings. Approximately a third of the book is devoted to notes and references. A useful work for scientific historians as well as philosophers and sociologists of science. Faculty; professionals. K. Cornely; Providence College