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Molecular Biology: Principles and Practice Second Edition


Author: Michael M. Cox

Publisher: W. H. Freeman


Publish Date: March 16, 2015

ISBN-10: 1464126143

Pages: 944

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

As teachers, we know that undergraduate science education is evolving. Simply conveying facts does not produce a scientifically literate student, a long-held perception now reinforced by numerous studies. Students of science need more: a better window on what science is and how it is done, a clear presentation of key concepts that rises above the recitation of details, an articulation of the philosophical underpinnings of the scientific discipline at hand, exercises that de1nand analysis of real data, and an appreciation for the contributions of science to the well-being of humans throughout the world. As undergraduate science educators rise to these challenges, we are faced ivith both higher nu1nbers of students and declining resources. How can we all do 1nore with less? Textbooks are an important part of the equation. A good textbook must now be more than a guide to the information that defines a discipline. For instructors, a textbook must organize information, incorporate assessment tools, and provide resources to help bring a discipline to life. For students, a textbook must relate science to everyday experience, highlight the key concepts, and show each student the process that generated those key concepts.

This book had its genesis at a meeting of the authors in Napa Valley in January 2006. From the outset, we set ambitious goals designed to address the key challenges we face as teachers. Students see science as a set of facts rather than an active human endeavor. Molecular biology has a wealth of important stories to tell. We wanted to convey the excitement that drives modem molecular biology, the creativity at the bench, and the genuine wonder that takes hold as the workings of a new biological process are revealed. This theme is set in the first chapter, dedicated in large measure to an introduction to the scientific process. Every chapter then begins ,,vith a Moment of Discovery, highlighting a researcher’s own description of a memorable1no1nent in his or her career. After Chapter 1, every chapter ends with a How We Know section, with stories relating the often circuitous path to a new insight. Additional anecdotes- scientists in action- are woven into the text and the accompanying Highlights. As students read the text, the laboratories and the people behind the discoveries will never be far away. This second edition is an update, and much more. It has allowed us to refine the initial vision we had ivhen we started this project and to augment that vision with unparalleled resources that will bring the subject to life for students and educators alike.

Scientific breakthroughs represent the exhilarating culmination of a lot of hard work. Each chapter opens with a description of a significant breakthrough in molecular biology, told by the scientist who made the discovery. The scientists featured in the Moments of Discovery are David Allis, Norm Arnheim, Bonnie Bassler, Steve Benner, James Berger, Carlos Bustamante,  Rose Byrne, Jamie Cate, Joe DeRisi, Roxana Georgescu, Lin He, Tracy Johnson, Melissa Jurica, Judith Kimble, Robert Lehman, Steve Mayo, Harry Noller, Smita Patel, Lorraine Symington, Jack Szostak, Robert Tjian, and Wei Yang.

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