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A critical analysis of the observations and experiments that have shaped the last 100 years of chromosome research. Emphasis is placed on what remains to be learned, particularly in light of the sequencing of DNA, which renders the previous era of chromosome research prehistoric.
Introduction. Part I: Nine Periods Of Chromosome Research: 1795 to 2010. First Period 1795-1850. The precursors: Better microscopes allowed reaching the cell level. Second Period 1850-1900. The pioneers: The discovery of the chromosome was a by-product of microbiology. Third Period 1900-1930. The era of abstract genetics: Order in embryonic development led to the finding of order in inheritance. Fourth Period 1930-1950. The impact of physics and chemistry on genetics: World War II encouraged the development of microbial genetics. Fifth Period 1950-1970. Radioisotopes and electron microscopy became a most fruitful combination: Molecular biology received its main impulse from disciplines outside genetics. Sixth Period 1970-1980. The mechanisms of cancer and of development were sought at the DNA level: Biotechnology emerged as a new field as genetics created its own weapons. Seventh Period 1980-1990. Neurobiology reached the molecular level: Artificial chromosomes and gene therapy became a reality. Eighth Period 1990-2001. The genome of humans and of other organisms was sequenced: The age of multilaboratory collaboration was established. Ninth Period 2001-2010. The post-genome era: The task that lies ahead. Part II: The Technology that Allowed the Study of the Chromosome: 1900 to 2001. From staining methods to DNA sequencing. Part III: In Search of the Eukaryotic Chromosome. Main stages in the discovery of the cell's structure and function. The nucleus versus the cytoplasm. Which was most important? The description of cell division: An impressive transformation was accompanied by directed cellular movements. Meiosis was another unexpected property: The cell could reduce its chromosome number. The maintenance of identity of the chromosome during interphase was accompanied by constancy and variability of pattern in different tissues. Part IV: The Three Unique Regions of the Eukaryotic Chromosome. The centromere: A Pandora's box of unearthed properties. The telomere: Not just a terminus station. The nucleolus organizer: Nothing in the cell is comparable to it. Part V: No Chromosome Can Function Outside A Cell. Cytoskeleton: A disgusting artifact became an important cell edifice. Nuclear envelope: The nucleus disclosed its outer structure. Centriole: An enigmatic cell invention. Endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus: The building of membranes permitted molecular reactions to occur in defined sequences. Cell membrane and cell wall: The cell became an individualized entity. Part VI: Specific Types Of Chromosomes. Chromosomes of viruses: An early or a late form of chromosome? Chromosomes of bacteria: Nearly naked DNA could become independent. Chromosomes of mitochondria: Intruders invaded the cell. Chromosomes of chloroplasts: Additional genomes entered the cell. Part VII: The Antithetical Properties Of The Chromosome. Physico-chemical processes are antithetical. The Chromosome's Rigidity. Maintenance of organization: The protozoan versus the human chromosome. Maintenance of the chromosome phenotype. Maintenance of gene order. Maintenance of function. The periodicity of chromosome transformations. The Chromosome's Plasticity. Structural change. Change of pattern. Change in size. Change in number. Change in function. Part VIII: Chromosome Models And What They Do Not Tell Us. The models. What the models do not tell us. Part IX: Epilogue. Where did the chromosome come from? Where is the chromosome going? Bibliography: A list of selected books that have dealt with the chromosome during the period 1870-2001. References: Cited works between 1990 and 2001. Sources of Illustrations. Subject index. Author index.
An interesting and absolutely unique work. (Bengt O. Bengtsson, Professor of Genetics, Lund University, Sweden) "I highly recommend Professor Lima-de-Faria's book because I consider it a fantastic achievement and of great interest to a large audience." (Professor Felix Mitelman, Editor-in-Chief of Genes, Chromosomes and Cancer) "Thank you very much for your excellent book! Its conciseness, beautiful illustration sand comprehensive bibliography and references make it an outstanding piece of work -- perhaps one of the best on my table." (Alexander S. Spirin, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Moscow University, Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences) "I was delighted to hear from you and to receive a copy of your new book "One hundred years of chromosome Research". I have started reading it and do so with great interest and enjoyment as it gives a flavour of your own particular excitement on the field as well as being a valuable account of the major milestones in cytogenetics. I firmly believe that molecular biologists need an understanding of the nature and behaviour of chromosomes if they are to fully advance in their discipline. I believe that your book will give them the necessary direction. Hearty congratulations on the publication of this excellent work." (Malcolm Ferguson-smith, Professor Emeritus of Pathology, Cambridge University, England) "I have recently read with great interest your new book One hundred years of Chromosome Research . I learned about it (and bought myself a copy) at the American Society of Cell Biology annual meeting last month. I congratulate you on doing an excellent job of bringing together all the facets of the history of chromosome research and I am also honoured that you have included some of my work in the book." (James R. Paulson, Professor of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin, USA) "Thanks for the wonderful book! I'm almost finished reading it. I very much appreciate how you let us know about all the loose ends and ignored paths." (Dr. Richard Gordon, Health Sciences Centre, University of Manitoba, Canada) "The book is a well-filled storehouse of interesting information, presumably gathered during a lifetime of research and teaching, a store on which the reader draws for his or her own benefit. For those somewhat familiar with chromosome, genetics or cell biology this book is rewarding reading. For younger colleagues in this field it should be considered obligatory." (Professor Walther Trout, University of Lubeck, Germany) "I always admire your brilliant work on chromosomes." (Takashi Sugimura, President Emeritus, National Cancer Center, Tokyo, Japan) "Many thanks for your beautiful book on chromosome research. I am sure I will enjoy reading it." (Prof. Pierre Chambon, Unite Biologie Moleculaire, Faculte de Medicine, Universite de Strasbourg, France)