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Preface - Pg. xi

Preface This book introduces the world of biochemistry in an approachable comic format. Biochemistry is a synthesis of biology and chemistry, which together elucidate the processes of life at the most basic level. It is the study of the molecules that constitute our bodies and those of other living organisms, and the chemical reactions that occur within cells. In recent years, the field of biochemistry has been growing at an unprecedented rate. From the end of the 19th century and into the 20th, scientists have conducted chemical research on phenomena in the fields of medicine, nutritional science, agriculture, biology, and many other subjects, and this research has led to some incredible discoveries. When you consider the diversity of the fields listed above, biochemistry may seem like a disjointed collection of different sciences. But even though the objectives differ, the con- cepts on which they are based are the same--the chemical elucidation of life phenomena. Therefore, the fundamentals of biochemistry must be learned by anyone who intends to participate in any field that deals with the human body or life phenomena to any extent, such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacology, agriculture, nutritional science, and nursing. This book explains the most important points in biochemistry in an easy-to-understand format. It can be used as a reference book or supplementary reader for a biochemistry course, or for a course in medical science or nutritional science. You can use this book as a quick refresher or to gain a better understanding of this fascinating science. Even a high school student would certainly be able to comprehend this material. The organization of this book differs somewhat from other existing biochemistry books. For example, although the major cellular chemical components (substances that are present in all living things: saccharides, lipids, nucleic acids, and proteins) are usually described first in an ordinary biochemistry textbook, discussions of each of these substances are incorporated organically, rather than in an independent chapter. I did this because I believe that introduc- ing these substances in context makes them easier to understand and remember. In addition, I've included information about biochemistry in our everyday lives in Chap- ter 3 to highlight the significance of biochemistry by showing how it applies to subjects that most people are familiar with. The protagonist of this book is a high school girl named Kumi who is very concerned with dieting. I chose this story because it relates to my own educational background as a member of a nutritional science division in an agricultural sciences department. These days, when people talk about biochemistry, the discussion often centers around nutrition and health. Many people are concerned with the phenomena that make up metabolic syndrome, a general name for the risk factors of an increasingly-common collection of disorders: type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, and stroke.