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stripped of its less important subheadings and footnotes, allowing the data to dominate the visual image. The skill of visual communication is also the theme of Mary Helen Briscoe's book A Researcher's Guide to Scientific and Medical Illustrations. This is more of a practical manual than a treatise on the art of graphics, providing many examples of the right and wrong ways to display data. The emphasis is on the nuts and bolts of how figures are printed and how knowledge of these processes can be applied by authors when preparing figures to ensure optimal reproduction in
a book or journal. There is a valuable chapter on molecular graphics that provides excellent guidelines for the display of DNA and protein sequences to ensure the best use of space and also legibility. Another chapter on the use of computers discourages the use of fancy outlined text and other such gimmicks. Plainer typefaces can be much more effective and the ability to vary size and density can significantly improve complex diagrams. Ms Briscoe, however, does not concentrate solely on printed figures but includes separate chapters on the preparation of slides and posters, which
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both demand the use of different graphic devices. Although neither book provides startling new theories or methods, every graduate student would benefit from studying these texts before playing with the graphics software on the lab computer. As an editor, I know that there is still room for improvement in how scientists display their data.
MARY PURTON Editor, Trends in Biochemical Sciences.
B00ksinBrief CytochromeP-450 and ActiveOxygen by A. L Archakov and G. £ Bachmanova, Taylor and Francis, 1990. £55.00 (vi + 339 pages) ISBN 0 85066 805 0 By the authors' own admission, the subject of cytochrome P-450 and active oxygen is vast. P-450s are presumed to have been present around 1.4 billion years ago in the earliest organism. Grouped together into a superfamily, there have to date been 13 P-450 gene families identified, including two bacterial, two yeast, one insect and eight vertebrate families. The diversity of the P-450s, together with their overlapping substrate specificities, means that they can metabolize a vast array of chemicals. In mammals, these include carcinogens such
New additions Practical ApproachSeries Cumulative Methods Index edited by D. Rickwood, Oxford University Press, 1991. £14.95 hb/£5.95 pb (ix + 106 pages) ISBN 0 19 963277 8 The Practical Approach Series has now launched over 60 titles that cover a large number of techniques. There is, of course, some degree of overlap, with different titles using different approaches to the same technique. This methods index offers a guide to the volumes, which
as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and nitrosamines, and drugs such as nifedipine, cyclosporin and codeine. In some cases these activities provide a defense against chemical insult, while in others the metabolite is more harmful than the substrate. Cytochrome P-450s are also of central importance in the meta~,olism of endogenous substances such as fatty acids, prostaglandins and steroids. Despite this wide diversity of function, the majority of P-450-mediated metabolism results from the introduction of a single atom of oxygen into a substrate, hence the title of this book. Although there have been several thorough reviews of P-450 'form and function' in recent years, this one still manages to fill a useful niche. The authors aimed to make foreign readers aware of current research in this field in the USSR, so they make no apology for giving prominence to work carried out in their
should aid the researcher or student in finding and cross-referencing the sections of interest.
own laboratories. The approach is therefore less comprehensive than the title might suggest and less systematic than other recent reviews. The authors concentrate on the reconstitution of monooxygenase systems and their molecular organization, while giving lighter coverage of their regulation and function in vivo. The translation from Russian (by A. A. Zhukov) is fluent and readable, and one third of the book is given over tq references, a high proportion of which are in Russian language journals, This book gives a comprehensive and sound coverage of the fundamentals of cytochrome P-450 function and regulation, and will provide a useful source reference for those of us who are not fluent in Rus;ian.
C. R. W. AND D. S.
in membranes, in metabolic regulation and in a variety of disorders.
Lipid Biochemistry- An Introduction, 4th edn edited by M. L Gurr and J. L. Hatwood, Chapman & Ha!l, 1991. £19.95 (~ii + 406 pages) ISBN 0 412 26620 2 The fourth edition of this textbook has been restructured to reflect developments in lipid research. It also contains a more detailed section on the nutritional and clinical aspects of lipids and a wideranging survey on the functions of lipids
edited by Trevor Palmer, Ellis Horwood, 1991. $39.95 (6 + 399 pages) ISBN 0 13 932534 4 The main revision of this edition incorporates recent advances in molecular biology and analytical techniques. Sections on indirect determination of protein primary structure, site-directed mutagenesis, dry-reagent techniques, and enzymes and recombinant DNA technology have been introduced.