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The Manga Guide to Molecular Biology Paperback – Sep 7 2009
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About the Author
Masaharu Takemura is a Lecturer at the Tokyo University of Science in biology, molecular biology, and life sciences. A Doctor of Medical Science, Takemura has written several books about biology.
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Manga usually uses human subjects in a story to try to maintain interest. The story in this book is contrived, but that doesn't detract from the value of the biology presentation.
The book starts with some basic definitions, and proceeds to explain the workings of the cell. Sections include:
What is a Cell?
Proteins and DNA: Deciphering the Genetic Code
DNA Replication and Cell Division
How is a Protein Made?
Genetic Technology and Research.
The diagrams, pictures, and accompanying text do an excellent job of explaining the complicated process by which genes are expressed, RNA templates are produced, and via the ribosome, protein is made, amino acid by amino acid. Many texts don't do justice to the subject in double the pages.
Some of the controversial aspects of biotechnology are also addressed, including embryonic stem cell research and cloning.
As an introduction to the subject, as an accessory guide to accompany a more complete text, or just as a refresher for those of us who took biology classes before many of these subjects were well understood, this is an excellent book.
This is a fascinating and illustrative guide to a field which has implications to all of us biologists and laymen alike.
I never took molecular biology in high school or college, yet I was able to get through the Guide and come out at the end with a pretty fair understanding of it. Moreover, I actually enjoyed the learning journey!
My nine year-old daughter loves these books and always reads through them after I'm done. She's not coming away from the books with great knowledge of the concepts, but she's finding them interesting, fun, and is less intimidated with the subjects. I think that's a big win because these guides are laying some good ground work for her to come back to later.
The book covers all the main questions and topics you would expect: what is a cell, what are the common parts of a cell, how do cells combine to make various organisms, what are proteins and how do they function within a cell, what is DNA and what are genes and how do they work to express the information coded in them? My favorite part was chapter 5 which focuses on potential applications for everything discussed earlier and theorizes what the future may hold in the field.
I work in a software project that is helping biologists do research, including helping process the vast amounts of data that comes from genetic sequencing. As a result, I have become familiar with most of the content this book presents. I believe the book is accurate and it is clear. The story created to assist with that presentation is enjoyable as well. I have a seven year old daughter that is reading the book with great interest. Some of the science is above her grade level, but her attention remains fixed on the art and the story and she is absorbing some of it as she reads.
Overall, I would say the book is a success and recommend it without reservation.
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