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Proteins: Structures and Molecular Properties
Proteins: Structures and Molecular Properties
by Thomas E. Creighton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $165.01
50 used & new from $12.00

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great protein chem text, January 30, 2006
I have been using this text as a supplement in a biophysics course and have found it very helpful. The text discusses physical properties of interactions within a polypeptide chain as well as with the environment. This book goes into protein folding, determination of evolutionary relationships between proteins, enzymology, methods for determining structure (like NMR, X-Ray diff), and is an excellent graduate or advanced undergraduate text.

Bioinformatics For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech))
Bioinformatics For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech))
by Jean-Michel Claverie
Edition: Paperback
76 used & new from $0.01

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great beginner, December 15, 2005
In spite of the title (I don't know many dummies interested in multiple sequence alignments) this reference is written by experts in the field of bioinformatics and is very accessable for the beginner. I purchased this book as a beginning graduate student so that I could learn which programs to use to compare amino acid and nucleic acid sequences as well as prepare them for publication and this book was perfect for this end. This text doesn't delve into the algorithms or much theory (which is learned through practice and other sources), nevertheless, I recommend this for the researcher for a crash course or quick reference. This book really helped me get my feet wet in this area (and recently publish a nice alignment) and will certainly reduce my workload next semester for my bioinformatics course!

Enzyme Kinetics: Behavior and Analysis of Rapid Equilibrium and Steady-State Enzyme Systems
Enzyme Kinetics: Behavior and Analysis of Rapid Equilibrium and Steady-State Enzyme Systems
by Irwin H. Segel
Edition: Paperback
Price: $124.29
48 used & new from $104.94

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent text, December 15, 2005
I recently took a graduate course in enzymology and purchased this text as a supplement to my lectures. It proved invaluable as a guide to approach problems in enzyme kinetics. Dr. Segel derives the equations and interprets his graphs for the reader to follow. This is truly comprehensive and authoritative; however it is dry and technical. The author thoroughly describes initial velocity kinetics, multisubstrate kinetics, as well as Cleland kinetics. I would recommend this to students in biochemistry, as well as a reference for those doing work with enzymes.

Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution
Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution
by Michael J. Behe
Edition: Paperback
240 used & new from $0.01

487 of 754 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Biochemist?, October 27, 2005
I am a PhD student in microbiology that has recently become interested in the ID/evolution debate. In his book, Michael Behe presents some common examples of biological structures/cascades as they are presented in any upperlevel undergraduate molecular biology text. The remainder of the book is spent dismissing evolutionary theory because scientists have not answered questions such as "How did the photosynthetic reaction center develop? How did intramolecular transport start? How did cholesterol biosynthesis begin? How did retinal become involved in vision? etc. (pg 176)." As a graduate student involved in biomedical research I can tell you that these questions are rigged. If Mike Behe knows of a way they could be tested I sure haven't seen him present this. Behe is claiming that evolutionary theory is inadequate and must be replaced by ID because we haven't shown the evolution of a photocenter in the lab (nor will we)!!!! That's like reasoning that the laws of physics must be discarded because no one has ever reproduced the big bang singularity in a beaker. The fact is that Dr. Behe's attack on evolutionary theory is based largely on either ignorance or deceit. As a biochemist who must have a good handle on evolutionary theory to present his case against it, Dr. Behe must surely be aware that science does not contend that the only mechanism of evolution is by natural selection acting on single point mutations. This is why I say deceit or ignorance. Either he isn't aware of it which is unlikely, or he has a clear agenda he wishes to push in order to neglect to mention horizontal and lateral gene transfer, chromosomal rearrangements, regulatory genes, gene duplication, transposable elements, and transduction in bacteria as evolutionary mechanisms (See Microbial Evolution: Gene Establishment, Survival, and Exchange edited by Robert V. Miller and Martin J. Day for a technical account). This is not the main thing that concerns me about his book. He uses poor analogies to illustrate what he believes are flaws in evolutionary theory. The bike evolving into a motorcycle is a perfect example (pg 43-44). "To be a precursor in Darwin's sense we must show that a motorcycle can be built from "numerous, successive, slight modifications" to a bicycle." "If we are to keep our analogy relevant to biology, however, each change can only be a slight modification, duplication, or rearrangement of a preexisting component, and the change must improve the function of the bicycle." Not true Dr. Behe. Bacteria evolve rapidly both through modification, duplication or rearrangement of existing structures in their genome as well as by acquiring DNA from other bacterial cells, viruses or the environment. Think I'm kidding. I'll use the most familiar example...antibiotic resistance in bacteria. It turns out that bacteria can have a form of sexual reproduction with one another through a tubular rod known as a pillus. Some bacteria contain small self replicating circular pieces of DNA which are called plasmids. Plasmids contain genes that are not necessarily required for growth normally, though can have selective advantage in some environments, such as a patient taking antibiotics. Bacteria can become resistant to an antibiotic through acquiring a plasmid containing an antibiotic resistance gene from another bacterium! THIS IS EVOLUTION!!!! So his bike analogy falls apart because biology does not exist in a vacuum as Mike Behe would have you believe. Instead, genes encoding functional proteins are exchanged routinely in the case of microorganisms. Dr. Behe's "evidence" for an intelligent designer is in what he calls irreducible complexity, i.e. if you take away one component the system fails to how could complex biochemical pathways/structures have evolved by natural selection. Dr. Behe's first example of an irreducibly complex structure is the bacterial flagellum. Dr. Behe states, "Yet here again, the evolutionary literature (on the evolution of the bacterial flagellum) is totally missing. Even though we are told that all biology must be seen through the lens of evolution, no scientist has ever published a model to account for the gradual evolution of this extraordinary molecular machine." Actually, it's in the second edition of a textbook called Cellular Microbiology by Cosart P. et al. by ASM Press on pg 369 so it is in fact in the literature. What I am referring to is the bacterial Type III secretion system (TTSS) which functions to inject toxins into eukaryotic cells. Both the bacterial flagellum and the TTSS are put together in the cell by the same mechanism, and proteins in each system are homologous (meaning derived from common components). This system is not irreducibly complex, when you take away the flagellar whip and replace it with the needle like structure encoded by the PrgJ and InvG genes you have a functional syringe. It turns out that numerous genes involved in this process can be transferred from one bacterium to another in toto and not through "stepwise modifications of existing structures" as ID "theorists" would have you believe. Sure, many complex pathways seem to be irreducibly complex if the reader has no background in biochemistry or molecular biology and the author restricts natures means to produce such structures to slight, gradual processes. Finally, if you would really like to get inside Dr. Behe's head, feast on this statement: "Neither Darwin nor Dawkins, neither science nor philosophy, has explained how an irreducibly complex system such as a watch might be produced without a designer". Thank you, Dr. Behe.

This negative critique on Dr. Behe's book in no way reflects my view on religion. I am not an atheist as is the image portrayed on the science community by the ID movement. What irritates me is that a professor of biochemistry can misuse his status and knowingly misrepresent the extensive body of scientific evidence for evolution for his own religious agenda. Science and religion deal with fundamentally different issues. Science in its purest form is humanities ability to understand natural phenomenon by means of observation. We cannot observe an "Intelligent Designer" and it doesn't take a scientist to arrive at this conclusion. Religion is based on faith, so why is it that some people and organizations (Discovery Institute) are now trying to observe God or God's work empirically? Doesn't this defeat the purpose of faith? In fact, evolutionary theory should not threaten people's faith. Pope John Paul II even stated this. Organisms change with time through various biological that means there cannot be a higher power? Evolution is really not up for debate and those who believe it is clearly do not have an understanding of evolution, the scientific literature, or the definition of a theory. ID, however, is up for debate because where Dr. Behe claims science has failed to answer fundamental questions, ID has not answered any questions with any empirical evidence, nor will they because the hypothesis (not theory) precludes testing.
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