The Machinery of Life

Ranked #6 in Molecular Biology, Ranked #17 in Microbiologysee more rankings.

Imagine that we had some way to look directly at the molecules in a living organism. An x-ray microscope would do the trick, or since we're dreaming, perhaps an Asimov-style nanosubmarine (unfortunately, neither is currently feasible). Think of the wonders we could witness firsthand: antibodies atta- ing a virus, electrical signals racing down nerve fibers, proteins building new strands of DNA. Many of the questions puzzling the current cadre of sci- tists would be answered at a glance. But the nanoscale world of molecules is separated from our everyday world of experience by a daunting... more

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Carl Zimmer Even when living things are operating normally and humming along, it’s still beyond our ordinary understanding. You really have to stretch your powers of imagination to try to get a sense of what it is like inside of a cell.  Ironically, textbooks can make that imagination more difficult. If they want to show how genes are used to make proteins, they show a very tiny, isolated piece of DNA, and then an isolated strand of RNA, and an isolated ribosome that uses the RNA to make a protein – as if that was all there was in the cell. But the fact is that every cell is actually crammed with... (Source)

Stephen Curry @cshperspectives @MHendr1cks David Goodsell’s book, The Machinery of Life, is great for showing molecular crowding. (Source)

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