Oxford University Press (2001) 435 pages. ISBN 0-19-513294-7£39.50
This book is dedicated to general techniques in molecular biology. Its introduction describes general principles and basic biochemical techniques. The content is then divided into two parts. Part 1 deals with nucleic acids and cloning, including a description of commercially available kits and materials. Part 2 describes theoretical and practical aspects of protein purification - again, with an emphasis on what is commercially available,including information directly from the vendor's literature. The appendices include a helpful list of laboratory reagents, commonly used abbreviations and literature sources.
Could you by reading and performing every protocol in this manual become a molecular biologist? Probably not, but the manual contains enough useful protocols and information to be a good accompaniment to an undergraduate course in molecular biology.
The manual is directed at advanced undergraduate and new graduate students. To follow the protocols an understanding of organic and quantitative chemistry is essential. The content is ambitious, maybe over ambitious. It contains a broad range of molecular biology protocols, from plasmid preps to protein purification. Given the broad range of techniques, careful supervision would be needed for a student to take advantage of a course based on this manual. The theoretical content is limited to basic principles and the necessary background to follow the techniques. It is not the most exciting book to read but, being a practical manual, that could prove an extremely difficult task.