Dr. Larry C. Fowke, PhD, DSC, FRSC
All living organisms consist of cells. Cells are fascinating structures, they come in many shapes and sizes and are involved in a large range of activities. Three types of cells have been identified, bacterial, plant and animal. . This book emphasizes plant cells.
The first three chapters provide an introduction to plant cells, and their distribution in the world and discuss light and electron microscopes, the primary tools for visualizing cells.
The next eight chapters focus on structure and function of cell organelles. This includes analysis of major events that are essential for the living cell, photosynthesis in chloroplasts to capture energy from the sun, cellular respiration in mitochondria to release energy to the cell to do work, cell division to allow for growth and synthesis of structural proteins and enzymes.
The last four chapters introduce the reader to the fascinating work being done in the areas of genetic engineering, cloning and utilization of stem cells. The chapter on genetic engineering explores methods for introducing genes into cells to produce genetically modified (GM) organisms. A particularly good example is GM canola grown on the Canadian prairies. It is resistant to the powerful herbicide Round up. Spraying the canola crop with Roundup kills all the weeds but the canola plants develop to maturity.
The reader is introduced to cloning, the technique for producing identical copies of plants and animals. The nature of stem cells and their potential for making animal tissues and for gene therapy is also discussed.
Cells are Life would be an excellent reference book for any students taking general biology or cell biology at the university level. It would be a useful addition to high school libraries to strengthen their biology program.
I anticipate that members of the educated lay public will be interested in cells and their importance to humans and all other life forms on earth.