Review from Plant Science
This book was initially conceived as a follow-up of Bonner and Varner's 'Plant Biochemistry' with the addition of molecular aspects. In fact, because of the many fields where Biochemistry plays a role, this book not only treats Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, but also (and in great detail), Physi-ology, Cell Biology, Developmental Biology, Pathology and Plant Biotechnology, making it one of the most complete modern textbooks in Plant Biology available. It is a real masterpiece, because it manages not only to treat the various aspects in a clear and pleasant way, but also to integrate them into an impressive Whole. The authors were assisted by no less than 53 contributors and 27 reviewers, making this in reality a collaborative effort by authoritative representatives of the Plant Biology Community. This textbook is an excellent guide for students and researchers alike, providing them with solid up-to-date knowledge about a large number of plant functions in an era that witnesses a real flood of new exciting information with implications for different fields. The elaborate scheme on signal transduction pathways activating and coordinating plant defense responses (p. 1143) provides an example of this ever-continuing elaboration and integration. It poses at the same time the question, (of basic importance but also of didactic relevance) what kind of predictive value such schemes can have when everything interacts with everything? In the future, the Mathematics of non-linear dynamic systems can be expected to make its appearance in textbooks of this kind.
In general, the authors have managed to incorporate the most recent approaches, data and models, while avoiding preliminary results and too much detail. The book is lavishly illustrated, with a large number of excellent, original drawings and photographs, available on CD-ROM. (A few photographs are of a rather disappointing low resolution type and may be replaced in future editions.) Each of the five Chapters is followed by a short Bibliography. In conclusion, in spite of its some-what unwieldy size and weight, this is a most useful and brilliant book that sets new standards for Plant Biology textbooks.
Department of Cell Biology,
Plant Molecular Biology Institute,
12 Rue du General Zimmer,