Saturday, August 23, 2008

This Week's Citation Classic: The Bible

No self-respecting molecular lab would be caught dead without Maniatis aka Sambrook and Russell aka The Bible aka Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual.

First appearing in 1982, this laboratory standby was based on the protocols of the 1980 Molecular Cloning of Eukaryotic Genes course at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The original lead author was Tom Maniatis, who picked up his skills in the Ptashne Lab and the Sanger Lab. Maniatis was hired by Harvard as a assistant professor in 1976, but fled to CSHL without even having stepped foot in his Harvard lab because of an ill-advised ban on research involving recombinant DNA by the Cambridge City Council. At CHSL, Maniatis produced the first full-length cDNA clone of a mammalian gene, b-globin.

Maniatis' coauthors for the 1st edition were Ed Fritsch and Joe Sambrook. Sales totalled 18,000 in the first year and eventually numbered 60,000, which is astounding of a technical manual.

The book is now in its 3rd and final edition (Sambrook and Russell eds.). Clocking in at $259, it is pricey but can be the best laboratory investment you will make, simply because, as George McCorkle wrote in American Scientist, “Mirabile dictu! The procedures in this manual nearly always work!” Another great strength is that the biology behind the protocols is carefully explained so one can troubleshoot any issues that arise.

Because the field of molecular biology changes so quickly, CHSL is changing to an online version of Molecular Cloning called CHSL Protocols. CHSL"realized that if [it was] going to continuously add new material, [CHSL] had to think of the project as a journal, and give it a full editorial staff. Moving things out from under the Molecular Cloning name also gave [CHSL] the freedom to expand [its] areas of coverage and bring in material from [its] other manuals, as well as publishing new original articles."

The web edition is nice and all, but I'm kind of a throwback because I prefer to have my TBE-stained copy on the bench besides me.

Photo: The Dennehy Lab reference shelf.

1 comment:

  1. You also have the New Testament by San Sokal and Rohlf hehehe... In my opinion, Biometry is what actually made biology a science. God save the biometry, god save the principle of falsability, god save science.

    I always enjoy and learn while reading your blog. Thanks for the gift