Human genetics

Human genetics

Book reviews medium for publishing articles on all aspects of plant radiobiology. Articles from such diverse fields as Biochemistry, Physiology, Cytol...

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Book reviews medium for publishing articles on all aspects of plant radiobiology. Articles from such diverse fields as Biochemistry, Physiology, Cytology, Genetics, Plant Breeding, Morphology, Ecology and Food Technology will be represented. In the first issue there is a preponderance of papers dealing with cytogeneticinvestigations and it remains to be seen whether this trend will be maintained in later issues. Papers are included which deal with factors affecting radiosensitivity, growth responses of irradiated plants, effect of gamma radiation on chiasma frequency, and root absorption of fission products. A particularly interesting paper by Sparrow and his associates discusses the relation between DNA content per cell nucleus and radiosensitivity. Valuable contributions have been made to our knowledge of basic radiobiological mechanisms in all organisms from studies of the radiation responses of plants especially Vida faba, and it may be argued that the segregation of radiobiological articles simply on the basis of the experimental organisms used, must be a very artificial one. Nevertheless the increase in research effort in plant radiobiology has created a demand for a medium of publication such as Radiation Botany and the interesting contents of the first issue augur well for its future. The presentation and style are pleasing and of a high standard. D. R. DAVIES

H~n Genetics, A. C. STEVENSON(Ed.) British Medical BulletinVol. 17, No. 3, 1961. xv + 88 pp., 20s. EACH number of the British Medical Bulletin is a symposium, consisting of authoritative articles on different aspects of one fertile field of study. This impinges on medicine but may be of much wider biological interest, as is certainly true of the present issue. Recent technical advances have been followed by a remarkable increase in our understanding of the genetical nature and the true extent of human diversity. Most of the points of rapid growth are competently dealt with in this series of fifteen articles. Four of them give the latest news on the normal chromosome set in man and its abnormal variants, each associated with a particular syndrome of defects. Advances in human biochemical genetics are also well catered for, with a useful paper by H. Harris, for instance, on the many blood plasma protein variants elucidated with the aid of electrophoresis. Haemoglobin variants are not dealt with, however. Other topics include multifactorial inheritance of human traits and the Ire-


quency of congenital and hereditary disease; this last, by A.C. Stevenson, being relevant to the problems of genetic radiation hazards. There has been rather a spate of publications on human genetics recently and this one inevitably overlaps some of the others, though not seriously. It can be confidently recommended to anyone who wants to know the latest advances in a subject which should be of interest to all human beings. A.•G. SEARL~

The Chemical and Biological Action of R a d l a . ttons, Vol. V. M. HAtSSlNSKY (Ed.) Academic Press, New York and London; Masson et Cie, Paris (1961). xi + 278 pp. 63s. IN THIS volume, the fifth in the series edited by M. Haissinsky, the emphasis is again on the radiolysis of water and aqueous solutions. I n the first chapter A. O. Allen reviews the present thoughts on the radiolysis of water by 7-rays and electrons and suggests further lines of research which might profitably be undertaken in order to identify positively the various intermediate species formed. This review, as might be expected from a scientist who has worked in the field almost since its inception, is of a very high standard. It differentiates clearly those features of water radiolysis which are based on fact, as distinct from purely theoretical interpretations and, furthermore, it illuminates those dark corners of this field where further research must be carried out. Allen's review has the further advantage of being short and to the point. This chapter should be mandatory reading for any scientist interested in the field of radiation chemistry. The second chapter is by J. Pucheault on 'The Action of 0c-Rays on Aqueous Solutions'. I n this chapter Puchcault points out clearly those features where the radiolysis of aqueous solutions by 0~particles diffcrs from radiolysis by electrons or y-radiation. In discussing the differences in radical and molecular yields between ~-particles and 7-radiation, Pucheault postulates various distributious of radiolysis products. I n particular, he assumes that reactions of the type H~ + OH, H2Oz + OH and H2Oz + H may occur near the tracks of the ~-particles. This chapter is rather more detailed and contains a great deal of experimental data. The theoretical analysis of the distribution of primary species along the track of clcctrons or 7quanta, is discussed by A. Kupperman in his chapter 'Diffusion Kinetics in Radiation Chemistry'. This chapter describes attempts made by applying