Apoptosis is currently one of the fastest moving fields in biology with spectacular progress made over the past few years in delineating the molecular It is now indisputable that apoptosis mechanisms which underlie this process. plays an essential role in normal cell physiology and that aberrant apoptosis can manifest itself in a variety of human disorders. Published in two parts (Volumes 23 and 24 of the series entitled Results and Problems in Cell Differen- tiation), this is an attempt to bring together many different aspects of apoptosis. Given that this is such a vast and rapidly expanding field, it is almost impossible to cover everything that is now known about apoptosis in two short books, but 1 hope these volumes prove to be a guidepost, providing basic essential information on the biology and molecular mechanisms of apoptosis and its implications in some human diseases. As a significant am o unt of new information on apoptosis is emerging every week, it is unrealistic to expect that by the time these two books are published, all the articles will deliver up-to-date information. Nevertheless, 1 believe that the fundamentals of the apoptotic phenomenon are now firmly in place and are discussed at length in various chapters. Readers may find a small degree of overlap between some chapters. This was unavoidable since closely related areas of apoptosis research have been covered by more than one author.
Springer-Verlag Berlin and Heidelberg GmbH & Co. K
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