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Preface/Front Matter

Masayasu Nomura, Alfred Tissiéres, Peter Lengyel


Ribosomes present a unique challenge. The elucidation of their structure, assembled from nearly sixty different molecules, proteins and RNAs, is a problem of immense difficulty. Similarly, their function in the process of translation, still poorly understood, has appeared increasingly complex. Thus when Jim Watson suggested that we have a meeting at Cold Spring Harbor in the fall of 1973, followed by the publication of a book, a serious question came to our minds. Was it the right time?

In the last decade much work has been done on ribosomes regarding their structure, function, genetics and assembly. While the field of ribosome research is currently dynamic and fast progressing, the information we have obtained so far is very large. Thus we felt that reviewing the state of research in its various aspects, in addition to presenting the latest developments, was worthwhile at this time. This book should be useful to established investigators in presenting an overall view of the field. For newcomers, it will serve as a basic introduction to the field of ribosome research, and hopefully will stimulate fresh scientific interest. We also believe that some of the methods presently developed for the study of ribosomes will find their use in other problems of biology where specific aggregates of proteins, or of proteins and nucleic acids, are important.

The meeting was attended by a number of people far larger than we had first anticipated. This turned out to be fortunate as it allowed a more complete representation of the many

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