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Books, Journals, New Media
September 24, 2003


Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.

JAMA. 2003;290(12):1648. doi:10.1001/jama.290.12.1648

The fifth edition of Stryer's classic textbook Biochemistry has two new authors, who have updated the content and added many new features that recommend the text for advanced undergraduate, graduate, and medical students of biochemistry.

Since its first edition, Biochemistry has emphasized conformation, the relation between molecular structure and function. Berg has rendered hundreds of protein and nucleic acid structures as colorful ribbon diagrams, which readers can also view in three dimensions on the book's Web site. This feature brings the molecules alive better than any 2-dimensional drawing. The text is built around these ribbon diagrams, emphasizing throughout how structure determines function. Much of the new content is built on key structures, such as the ribosome, that have been elucidated since the fourth edition in 1995. This emphasis on structure works well. One can generally find a molecule of interest in the index or table of contents, view its structure, and learn about its functions in a few paragraphs of associated text.