Preface

Cell Biology, A Short Course aims to cover a wide area of cell biology in a form especially suitable for first year undergraduates. We have deliberately kept the book to a manageable size so that neither the cost, the content, nor the weight is too daunting for the student.

The overall theme for the book is the cell as the unit of life. We begin (Chapters 1-3) by describing the components of the cell as seen under the microscope. We then (Chapters 4-8) turn to the central dogma of molecular biology and describe how DNA is used to make RNA which in turn is used to make protein. The next section (Chapters 9-11) describes how proteins are delivered to the appropriate location inside or outside the cell, and how proteins perform their many functions. We then (Chapters 12-14) turn to cell energetics and metabolism. Signaling within and between cells is covered in Chapters 15 through 17. To conclude the book, Chapter 18 describes the composition and function of the cytoskeleton, Chapter 19 covers cell birth and cell death, while Chapter 20 uses the example of the common and severe genetic disease cystic fibrosis to illustrate many of the themes discussed earlier in the book.

Boxed material throughout the book is divided into examples to illustrate the topics covered in the main text, explanations of the medical relevance of the material, and in depth sections that extend the coverage beyond the content of the main text. Questions are provided at the end of each chapter to help the reader assess how well they have assimilated and understood the material.

As well as giving references to printed material, we reference material available on the internet in many places in the book. Rather than give detailed addresses, we provide links to all these sites and many others from the book's homepage at http://www.physiol.ucl.ac.uk/sbolsover/teaching/cbasc/cbasc.html.

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