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February 25, 1974

Life: The Unfinished Experiment

Author Affiliations

Mount Sinai School of Medicine New York

JAMA. 1974;227(8):944. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230210054029

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


The science of molecular biology has advanced over the past 15 years at an almost dizzying rate that has unfortunately left many interested individuals in some confusion. This book, written by the Nobel Prize-winning microbiologist, Professor S. E. Luria, does much to bring up to date those who are interested but not directly involved. The chapters concerning evolution, genetics, and cells and their metabolism are superb and written with ease and humor allowing ready understanding. Those chapters dealing with organisms and especially man, while a bit more difficult, provide excellent relevance of molecular biology to human biology. The only chapter with which I would take some exception is the last one dealing with the mind. While much that is written in this chapter is clear and useful, I would have liked to see some greater stress on the interaction of cultural evolution, so unique to man, as the environmental factor