RNA: Life's Indispensable MoleculeWe’ve just published a new book by James Darnell, one of the founding authors of the popular textbook Molecular Cell Biology (W.H. Freeman). In the new book, entitled RNA: Life’s Indispensable Molecule, Darnell provides the first comprehensive account of the history of RNA research from the perspective of his own distinguished, 50-year career at the forefront of the field.

“My aim in writing this book is to provide a supplement in historical form—both to the younger generation of scientists and teachers and through them to incoming students—that describes how we first learned some of the molecular fundamentals of biology,” writes Darnell.

The book will be useful to teachers of undergraduates, as it provides clear descriptions of major developments in the field of RNA research across a historical timeline, beginning over 100 years ago and continuing to the present day. Darnell enthusiastically and eloquently describes the intellectual context in which each question first arose and explains how the key experiments were structured and answers obtained.

“Many of today’s major questions (e.g., how mRNAs are formed and how gene control is exercised in eukaryotes) are the same questions that were pursued decades ago,” writes Darnell. “This history ought to be available in usable form for teachers and, most of all, the curious students of today.”

The book will appeal to upper-level undergraduate and graduate students who are following a specific course of study in molecular or cellular biology. It can be used for specialized courses on RNA structure and function, gene regulation, or the origins of life, as well as more general courses on molecular and cellular biology. It is heavily illustrated and in full color, and includes comprehensive reference lists at the end of each chapter.

For more information about the book, click here.