Saturday, August 8, 2009

Prefatory articles in Annual Review of Biochemistry make good reading

Over the time, I have read several (mostly structural biology related) prefatory articles published in the Annual Review of Biochemistry and found them quite interesting. Some examples:
  • In Vol. 78 (July 2009), James Wang's article, titled "A Journey in the World of DNA Rings and Beyond", told a story behind the discovery of DNA topoisomerase, an enzyme that converts one form of DNA ring to another.
  • In Vol. 73 (July 2004), Alexander Rich wrote about "The Excitement of Discovery" as a scientist. Rich's research has often been "on the question how molecular structure leads to biological function". I am especially impressed by his vivid description of the work with Crick on the structure of collagen (p.10-12) and its "strong positive effect" on his psyche:
    For one thing, I began to develop some self-assurance in my ability to carry out research and make discoveries. I believe that a form of “scientific maturation” is an important component in developing a confident thrust into research work.
  • In Vol. 40 (July 1971), John Edsall provided interesting insights about his editorial work in his article titled "Some Personal History and Reflections from the Life of a Biochemist".
Overall, such articles are well worth reading -- they provide background information and the context on the discoveries made by those leading scientists.