Understanding DNA - 2nd Edition - ISBN: 9780080572529

Understanding DNA

2nd Edition

The Molecule and How It Works

Authors: Chris Calladine Horace Drew
eBook ISBN: 9780080572529
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 14th March 1997
Page Count: 283
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The Second Edition of Understanding DNA has been entirely revised and updated, and expanded by more than 50% to cover new advances. The book explains step-by-step how DNA forms specific structures, the nature of these structures, and how they fundamentally affect the biological processes of transcription and replication. The functional properties of any molecule are directly related to and affected by its structure; this is especially true for DNA, the molecule that carries the code for all life on earth. Written in a clear, concise, and at times lively fashion, Understanding DNA is essential reading for all molecular biology, biochemistry, and genetics students, for newcomers to the field from such areas as physics or chemistry, and for even the most seasoned researchers who really want to understand DNA.

Key Features

@introbul:Key Features @bul:* New edition, expanded by more than 50%

  • Completely revised and updated
  • Includes many additional and updated references
  • Summarizes the recent studies of DNA in disease and medicine
  • Contains more than 110 illustrations, some in full color
  • Describes the basic units of DNA and how these form the double helix
  • Characterizes the various types of DNA double helix that have been found
  • Explains how and why DNA twists and curves
  • Discusses the mechanisms of DNA supercoiling
  • Summarizes the assembly of DNA and proteins into chromosomes
  • Outlines the methods used to study DNA structure Describes the latest work on protein-DNA complexes
  • Contains simple exercises and further reading at the end of each chapter


Undergraduates and graduates in molecular biology, biochemistry, and biophysics; newcomers to the field and molecular biology researchers without a structural background; cell biologists and life scientists in general as usefulbackground information.

Table of Contents

An Introduction to Molecular Biology for Non-Scientists. Why a Helix? Different Kinds of Double Helix. Twisting and Curving. Curving in Three Dimensions. DNA Supercoiling. The Assembly of DNA into Chromosomes. Specific DNA-Protein Interactions. Methods Used to Study the Structure of DNA. DNA in Disease, Diagnostics, and Medicine.

Appendices: Notes on the Derivation of Some Technical Terms. The Chemical Theory of Base-Stacking Interactions in DNA. Answers to Selected Exercises. Subject Index.


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 1997
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

Chris Calladine

Chris Calladine is Professor of Structural Mechanics at the University of Cambridge. In addition to researching aspects of structural engineering, he has applied the methods of structural mechanics to the study of flagella and DNA.

Affiliations and Expertise

Dept. of Engineering, University of Cambridge, U.K.

Horace Drew

Horace Drew solved several of the first DNA crystal X-ray structures with Richard Dickerson at Caltech, and subsequently spent five years researching DNA and chromosome structures with Aaron Klug at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK He now lives in Australia and is a Principle Research Scientist at the CSIRO Division of Biomolecular Engineering in Sydney.

Affiliations and Expertise

CSIRO Division of Biotechnology, Sydney, Australia


@from:Reviews of the first edition @qu:"Stylish... beautifully crafted, with a logical step-by-step approach to the subject. A book from which the advanced undergraduate will benefit, and which will also generate a refreshing perspective for experts." @source:--NATURE @qu:"Authoritative and lucid." @source:--SIR AARON KLUG @qu:"Throughout the book, there is something of a playful spirit at work... [which] make[s] subtle physical effects... intuitively comprehensible. We see DNA structures so often that it is often taken for granted that the molecule should not be anything but an aesthetically appealing, spiralling helix. But why should it assume such a nice structure? The book offers an absolutely delightful answer to this and other similarly mischievous questions. Understanding DNA is a great book that will surely prove to be a valuable teaching tool." @source:--THE BIOCHEMIST @qu:"Among the strengths [of the book] are the clarity of the explanations of some quite difficult concepts and the novel way in which certain ideas are treated, perhaps causing the reader to think again about certain aspects of DNA structure. I enjoyed reading this book and would encourage colleagues working in the general area of DNA research to read it." @source:--HEREDITY @qu:"A systematic and comprehensive analysis of the structure of DNA from a wonderfully fresh perspective. The book is a systematic effort to understand this fascinating molecule from the inside out, building from the first, and simplest, principles... I recommend it very highly." @source:--TRENDS IN GENETICS @qu:"The text would be a useful companion for a course using more traditional biology or molecular biology coverage. And, of course, it would be well suited for those wishing to introduce themselves to the topic of DNA for the first time." @source:--Roger W. Melvold, Northwestern University Medical School, DOODY REVIEW.

Ratings and Reviews