The Greek word apoptosis was used first by Hippocrates as a synonym of dislocations of the bones, structural changes related to tissue, by Marcus Aurelius in political and social context as failure and decline. The physician Galen extended the medical meaning of apoptosis to wound healing and inflammation. Apoptosis, or cell suicide is an integral part of life cycle of plants and animals indicated by the loss of 140-190g (50-70 billion) cells each day in the human adult, amounting to the body weight in one year. The growing interest in apoptosis is indicated by the number of scientific publications since the 1990s which is now more than 140,000 and will exceed 160,000 by the end of 2008. The unique feature of this book is the use of synhronized and reversibly permeabilized cells allowing to visualize the dynamic nature of chromatin condensation through transitory chromatin and chromosomal forms including changes upon genotoxic treatment, which were not seen earlier. The chromatin condensation process is illustrated from string (DNA) to rope (chromosomes) in more than 160 figures. The interdisciplinary nature of studies summarized in the book facilitate the global view of readers interested in the higher order structure of nucleic acids. The wealth of additional information will attract a wide population of readers. The natural audience engaged in DNA research such as genetics, cell biology, biochemistry, molecular biology will find that it contains essential material.
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