The Chemist | Journal of the American Institute of Chemists

Book Reviews

Molecular Diagnostics: Fundamentals, Methods, & Clinical Applications (2nd Edition)
Reviewed by Margot Hall
University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406

Book ReviewThis textbook is excellent for an introductory course in clinical molecular biology. The authors have presented an adequate amount of theory and practical applications to support a one semester introductory course without overwhelming a student with endless technical detail. In this fashion, they have written a book that will serve students and professors for some time to come, despite the fact that molecular biology is a continuously evolving discipline.

There are 16 chapters (462 pages) in the soft cover edition of the book. The book is divided into 3 sections:

  1. Fundamentals of Nucleic Acid Biochemistry: An Overview,
  2. Common Techniques in Molecular Biology, and
  3. Techniques in the Clinical Lab.

With approximately 3 to 7 chapters per section, each chapter has a chapter outline, a set of learning objectives, and numerous figures, diagrams, photographs, and tables illustrating the major points. Advanced concepts are placed in separate boxes contained in the chapter. There are also historical highlights that are sectioned off into boxes. Numerous study questions are located at the end of each chapter with answers to these questions located in an appendix at the end of the book.

Clinical case studies are located at the end of chapters and are used to reinforce the learning objectives of that chapter. There is a list of references at the end of each chapter and an index at the end of the book. Important terms are bold printed in the text, which is most helpful. However, there is no glossary of terms in the book and that would be my recommended addition for future editions. A list of chapters by section includes the following:

  • Section 1 - DNA, RNA, Proteins
  • Section 2 - Nucleic Acid Extraction Methods, Resolution and Detection of Nucleic Acids, Analysis and Characterization of Nucleic Acids and Proteins, Nucleic Acid Amplification, Chromosomal Structure and Chromosomal Mutations, Gene Mutations, DNA Sequencing.
  • Section 3 - DNA Polymorphisms and Human Identification, Detection and Identification of Microorganisms, Molecular Detection of Inherited Diseases, Molecular Oncology, DNA-Based Tissue Typing, Quality Assurance and Quality Control in the Molecular Laboratory

This book is eminently suitable for use by clinical chemists, pathologists, medical technologists, and biochemists. With the increased interest in molecular techniques and their use in the clinical laboratory, the reviewer has been searching for a good textbook. Her students and colleagues agree that this should be the textbook for current and future classes. It should serve as an excellent textbook for an undergraduate or beginning graduate course.



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