Complete and compact history. Takes us from the turn-of-the-century convergence of molecular biology's two progenitors, genetics and biochemistry, to the perfection of gene splicing and cloning techniques in the 1980s. `A History of Molecular Biology is well-researched and clearly written...Morange is critical of the triumphalist and recuctionist claims of molecular biology, and ends the book by reflecting on its place in the life sciences. Altogether, for a sophisticated theoretical and technical account of the strengths and weaknesses of the claims and the history of molecular biology, Morange's book will take some beating.' New Scientist
Part 1 The birth of molecular biology: the roots of the new science; the one gene-one enzyme hypothesis; the chemical nature of the gene; the "phage group"; the birth of bacterial genetics; the crystallization of the tobacco misaic virus; the role of the physicists; the influence of the Rockefeller Foundation; a new world view; the role of physics. Part 2 The development of molecular biology: the discovery of the double helix; deciphering the genetic code; the discovery of messenger RNA; the French School. Part 3 The expansion of molecular biology: normal science; genetic engineering; split genes and splicing; a new molecular biology; the discovery of oncogenes; from DNA polymerase to the amplification of DNA; molecular biology in the life science. Appendix: definition of terms.
The book is fascinating and compelling. Moreover, the style of the writing gives no hint that the English version is a translation. The book is clearly written by someone intimately acquainted with the science of molecular biology and the personalities involved...Morange concludes his Introduction with the words "Whatever the value of the interpretations put forward here, this book and the historical information it contains will enable others to take us further in the understanding of the molecular revolution in biology." I wholeheartedly agree: the book is indeed a work of scholarship, which, in addition to outlining the history of an exciting period in the development of biology, includes much thought provoking comment.--K. Manchester "Endeavor "