At first blush, we would think anyone in the current...RNA science pantheon could write a book like this, but once one takes a look and sees the richness of erudition, the poignancy of detail, the measured nuances, and most of all his elegant writing, combined with the underlying perspective of history, I cannot think of anyone in our RNA community who could have done it more attractively. ...No one could have written the eukaryotic RNA story as well as Jim Darnell. ...This book...will not be supplanted by as glorious a book on RNA anytime soon.
Darnells book on RNA is a masterpiece of scholarship. It deserves an exalted place on the bookshelf of every molecular biologist and biochemist next to other classics like Watsons Molecular Biology of the Gene, Kornbergs DNA Replication, and Judsons The Eighth Day of Creation.
Joe Goldstein, UT Southwestern
Jim Darnells career in science covers the 60 or so years following the publication of the Watson-Crick structure of DNA. This remarkable book tells a story that parallels his career, dealing at the beginning with the prehistory of research on RNA, DNA, and proteins and then shifting into high gear with a detailed look at the history of bacterial messenger RNA and the authors own specialty, the RNA of eukaryotic cells....Darnell is an experienced teacher and author of textbooks. His explanations of complex experiments are superb...
The FASEB Journal
Darnell has been at the forefront of molecular biology throughout his illustrious career. He leaves no stone unturned in this comprehensive but clear text...The real value of this work, aside from its extraordinarily readable style, is that it covers the history of RNA biology from the early pioneers to the present....The text is supported by high-quality, highly informative figures....up-and-coming students and seasoned researchers alike will gain significant insight into this central field.
In sum, Darnell has succeeded in writing an appealing and cogent account of the rise of RNA molecular biology and its continued centrality in research today. This is an excellent book that should be required reading for graduate students and more senior investigators alike.
RNA: Lifes Indispensable Molecule allows undergraduates and graduate students alike to envision, grasp, appreciate and spark fascination of the historical evolution of the importance of RNA in the context of cellular and developmental biology. After reading this book, I have restructured my course for Harvard undergraduates and its now the only required reading outside primary literature.
John Rinn, Harvard University
Darnells book is not only a bible but a lexicon. Every key experiment from the past seven decades that shaped current appreciation of the multiple roles of cellular RNA molecules is described with clarity in several succinct sentences....RNA: Lifes Indispensable Molecule should be required reading, as well as a handy desktop reference, for everyone charged with teaching gene expression on any level. It really does say it all.
Joan A. Steitz in Science
Although we take the roles of RNA for granted, its history is not as well known as that of DNA. Perhaps it was long overdue for a stellar RNA researcher such as James Darnell to undertake such a challenge. The book he has written is as remarkable as his career....The highly detailed account along with a flawless sense of history, take the reader through a fascinating journey of several decades of discoveries and exciting findings in molecular biology. Darnells very personal style makes this book enjoyable...After reading more than 400 pages of text, I was not exhausted. This book should be mandatory reading for advanced undergraduates and graduate students in biology and biochemistry. Even newly minted doctoral recipients could benefit from reviewing some key experiments...
CBE Life Sciences Education