Cover image for Oxford dictionary of biochemistry and molecular biology
Oxford dictionary of biochemistry and molecular biology
Smith, A. D. (Anthony David)
Revised edition.
Publication Information:
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2000.

Physical Description:
xi, 738 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
General Note:
Previous ed.: 1997.

"Revised edition 2000"-T.p. verso.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QD415.A25 O94 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



This book provides a survey of current biochemistry and molecular biology in the form of a dictionary. It contains short but informative entries arranged under more than 17,000 headwords, providing fundamental but up-to-date information that is often difficult to locate in today'soverspecialized world. The book is intended as a handy reference of first resource for those seeking information outside their immediate knowledge area or for those who need to refresh their memory of fundamental knowledge. It gives the meanings of many terms used in molecular biology and describes the essential featuresof over approximately 2,000 enzymes and proteins, describing the reactions they catalyse or functions they perform, and includes filenames that facilitate the location of entires in databases of sequences. Many entries describe chemical compounds of relevance to biochemists, with approximately 950symbols and abbreviations. In addition, many physico-chemical laws, constants, and formulae are detailed. This revised edition has been fully up-dated in order to include the new information that has been discovered since the original edition was published in 1997.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Just as its title suggests, this work is a dictionary of more than 17,000 terms currently in use in the fields of biochemistry and molecular biology. Entries are uniformly concise, with entries for the most complex topics (such as protein) covering only about half a page. In a single alphabet, the dictionary includes topics and methods, chemical substances, and brief biographical entries of key scientists. The only illustrations are structure diagrams of the more complex chemical compounds. Appendixes help the reader understand scientific nomenclature and Greek symbols, list organizations and Web sites of interest in the field, and cover current hot topics in biochemistry. Despite its low price (especially for a science reference source), this dictionary is not for every library. Because it will require a significant scientific background to be able to understand the content of this work, it is beyond the reach of the casual reader. Libraries supporting research or college-level study in the field will find it useful, but other libraries will be able to rely on existing chemical and biological reference works to cover this material. For public libraries, the eighth edition of the McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology [RBB S 15 97] and The Merck Index (12th ed., Merck, 1996), which is an excellent source for information on chemical compounds, will fill most needs. (Reviewed April 1, 1998)

Choice Review

Alphabetically arranged, this dictionary takes a broad approach to the fields of biochemistry and molecular biology, and meets well the information needs of those reading elementary or advanced textbooks and journal articles. Strongly oriented toward current usage, it includes a small but adequate number of relatively older terms. Full coverage is provided for the acronyms, abbreviations, genes, and enzymes that are so prevalent in this field. Each term is given a clear one-paragraph definition. Although chemical diagrams are used only occasionally and there are no other illustrations, the concepts, sometimes very complicated and abstract, are defined clearly and concisely, giving the minimum necessary amount of background information. There are no literature references, but gene and protein sequence identifiers from the standard data banks are included, a first for a reference work of this kind. Appendixes treat chemical nomenclature, biochemical organizations, and biochemical Web sites, offer an essay about bioinformatics, and list restriction enzymes. The only significant omission is a section giving the genetic maps of the key organisms. The competitive Concise Encyclopedia Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (CH, Sep'97) is more suitable for extended reading than quick reference, is less modern, less well produced, and less well targeted. The present dictionary, admirably suited for its intended audience of undergraduates and beginning graduate students in biology and biochemistry, is the best conceived and produced specialized scientific dictionary this reviewer has ever seen. Considering the increasing general interest in the subject, it is enthusiastically recommended to all libraries. D. Goodman; Princeton University

Table of Contents

Over 17,000 main entries, which give details of biochemical substances and processes in which they are involved
Over 2,000 protein and enzyme entries, which describe the functions they perform and/or the reactions they catalyse
Over 800 illustrations of chemical structures