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Nature's Robots: A History of Proteins…

Nature's Robots: A History of Proteins (Oxford Paperbacks)

by Charles Tanford

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I was expecting a discussion of protein science, but this is actually a history of protein science (I should have trusted the subtitle).
Even so, I was not disappointed.

This is a very good history, everything that Fathoming the Ocean is not. It explains why people were interested in certain things, how everything fits together, and it never gets lost in minute pointless detail. ( )
  name99 | Nov 16, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 019860694X, Paperback)

Proteins make it possible for us to digest food, to battle disease, to breathe, to move; they underlie life itself. Only in the last 200 years have scientists come to understand how these proteins, or "foremost things," work. How they did so is the subject of this welcome history of protein science.

It doesn't diminish our pleasure in such things to know that the aroma coming from a cooked ham is generated by the reaction of maltose and glutamic acid, while the heavenly scent of chocolate comes from the interaction of phenylalaine and sucrose. Tanford and Reynolds aren't exactly given to rhapsodizing, but they write appreciatively nonetheless of advances such as Franz Hofmeister's identification of the "peptide bond" that joins amino acids in proteins, John Kendrew's work in understanding the three-dimensional structure of myoglobin, and the efforts of modern researchers who, joining protein science to cell biology and genetics, are now working to solve the structures of more than 10,000 protein families.

General readers and students with an interest in the life sciences will find this well-written history to be of much use--and the best of its kind. --Gregory McNamee

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:12 -0400)

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