The first two chapters of this invaluable book trace the developments of the chemistry and macromolecular structures, respectively, of proteins and nuclei acids. Similarly, the introductions to the succeeding chapters review, step by step, the historical landmarks in the topics covered. These include discoveries of biological phosphate esters, nucleotides and nucleotide coenzymes (important in intermediary metabolism), the nature of the genetic material and biological synthesis of proteins, formulation of the problem of the genetic code, and perspectives on bioenergetics.The selected papers illustrate the developments of the chemical synthesis of nucleotides and nucleotide coenzymes of ribo- and deoxy-ribo-polynucleotides (RNA, DNA), of the total synthesis of genes in the laboratory, and principles for gene amplification (PCR). Another major section covers studies of enzymes that degrade nucleic acids, the structure of transfer RNA and its role in protein synthesis, and the author's work on the elucidation of the genetic code. Finally, there are descriptions of the studies on biological membranes and the membrane protein bacteriorhodopsin, a biological proton pump. These studies elucidated the mechanism of proton translocation, which is central to bioenergetics.

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