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October 27, 1993

Principles of Biochemistry

JAMA. 1993;270(16):1989-1990. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510160111041

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One cannot begin to review Principles of Biochemistry without reflecting on its history. Twenty-three years ago the late Professor Albert L. Lehninger of The Johns Hopkins University authored Biochemistry. It was the first biochemistry textbook; it emphasized readability, student engagement, comprehensiveness without overbearing inclusiveness; and it even had innovative production, with wide margins that were most often (but not always) the home of careful illustrations. Students and teachers alike embraced Biochemistry for bringing the chemistry of biological systems and the molecular basis of life into the domains of ordinary understandability and educational importance at both undergraduate and graduate levels. In 1975 an even better second edition appeared.

In 1982 Lehninger wrote a new text called Principles of Biochemistry. Principles followed the general pattern of Biochemistry, but its focus and format were somehow different. Lehninger wrote in the preface that "the time has come when a single biochemistry textbook cannot be