Journal Of Veterinary Medical Education

Volume 21, Number 1
Spring, 1994

Book Review

The Physiology of Reproduction, 2nd ed. E. Knobil and J. D. Neill, Eds.-in-chief. G. S. Greenwald, C. L. Markert and D. W. Pfaff, Assoc. Eds. Raven Press, 1185 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036. 1993, Vol. 1 - 1878 pp., Vol. 2 - 1372 pp. $360.00.

This updated edition of the monumental work published in 1988 follows the same basic outline as the original. There are 61 chapters arranged under 6 general sections. Volume 1 contains the sections "The Gametes, Fertilization, and Early Embryogenesis," "The Reproductive Systems - The Female," "The Reproductive Systems - The Male," and "The Pituitary and the Hypothalamus." Volume 2 contains "Reproduction Behavior and its Control" and Reproductive Process and Their Control." Some differences in organization do exist in the 2nd edition, e.g., a new chapter on the anatomy and genesis of the placenta was added to section 1, a chapter on inhibin was expanded to include activins and moved from section 2 to section 4, and a chapter on mechanisms of prolactin action was replaced with one on control of mammary gland growth and differentiation. The material on corpus luteum has been divided into a chapter for primates and one for infraprimates.

While a few chapters are reprints from the first edition, the vast majority have undergone rewrites to incorporate knowledge gained in the last 6 years, ranging from minor updating to major expansion and overhaul. One quantitative indicator of this can be seen in the increase in the number of references cited (50 - 300%) at the end of each chapter. The 120 contributors have produced a work of both breadth and depth. Despite the number of authors, there is a consistency of style that facilitates and even encourages reading throughout the two volumes. This is a first-rate reference work, and I expect that it will occupy a prominent place in the libraries of faculty, graduate students, and serious undergrads. It admirably fills information needs on topics across the spectrum of reproductive physiology from molecular biology to whole animal, and from mice to humans.

Ludeman A. Eng, PhD.