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A Genetic Switch, Third Edition: Phage Lambda Revisited Paperback – April 8, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0879697167 ISBN-10: 0879697164 Edition: 3rd

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Ptashne's clear and concise articulation of the essential scientific and experimental issues makes the book an ideal introductory text for the increasing number of interdisciplinary scientists moving into systems biology. More importantly, the detailed studies (summarized in these chapters) that relate properties of the molecular components to the function of the switch establish a high standard for the systems biology of more complex organisms. Science The clarity and care of 'A Genetic Switch' and its organization is a paradigm for communicating the structure and behavior of complex regulatory systems such as lambda. Periodic update of a book like this is important as a reminder of the level of our understanding of a system, in this case lambda, and of how we achieved that understanding. 'A Genetic Switch' is wonderful for what it is-a beautiful, concise (only 154 pages) exposition of the major molecular processes involved in lambda's lysis-lysogeny and induction decisions...The 3rd edition of 'A Genetic Switch' prompts us to remember the power of this under-utilized model system in discovering general principles of cellular function and behavior. Switch back!” Current Biology I enjoyed the book and have no major quibbles. The author has a talent for simplifying (but not oversimplifying) complicated ideas, he describes the theory and its experimental basis in a straightforward and plainspoken way, and he illustrates his points with drawings that contain just the right amount of detail. Connoisseurs will appreciate the new chapter on recent developments, in which some parts of the original picture are redrawn and others filled in... I strongly recommend the new edition of A Genetic Switch to students of molecular biology from the advanced undergraduate level up. The author and publisher are to be commended for supplying this volume at such a reasonable price. The Quarterly Review of Biology
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; 3rd edition (April 8, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879697164
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879697167
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.4 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Charles E. Nydorf on August 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
I found out about this unassuming little book in Sean Carroll's

"Endless forms most beautiful" and was delighted. When I first started reading it, a stranger who saw me with it smiled and I soon found out why. It can be read by anyone with a modest scientific education (little more than high school) but it takes you up to the frontiers of research on gene regulation. Readers who remember the way "Scientific American" used to cover molecular biology in 1960's through the '80's (or have read reprints from that era) will appreciate the highly visual style and the clear prose. The genetic switch

in question determines whether the genes of a virus that infects a bacterial cell will quietly integrate themselves into the bacterial genome and be copied along with the bacteria's genes each time the cell divides or use the cell's machinery to make many copies of itself, quickly destroying the cell in the process. If you are like me you'll be fascinated to learn how this switch works and about the experiments that revealed its secrets.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn McShan on March 26, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"A Genetic Switch" by Mark Ptashne is a modern classic of science writing. This book details the mechanism and presents the supporting data for the paradigm of bacterial gene regulation, the bacteriophage lambda repressor. What sets this book apart is not just the subject matter, but the clarity of Ptashne's writing and the superb illustrations that accompany his text. The combination of the two make the book useful for graduate students but also accessible for the general reader with an interest in science. Whenever new people join my laboratory, I have them read this book. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alie Brown on November 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent title that sheds some light on how life, or not-life like viruses, works. You can read this book even if you are not a biologist, or if you have almost no scientific background. True, you might need to resort sometimes to Wikipedia in the later case, but you will likely gain something.
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