Cytochemistry: A Critical Approach

Cytochemistry: A Critical Approach

Cytochemistry: A Critical Approach

Cytochemistry: A Critical Approach

Excerpt

Cytochemistry is an almost undeveloped branch of biology. It is only comparatively recently that a vigorous attempt has been made to solve the problems which are involved in cytochemical studies. Consequently, anything in the nature of a textbook on cytochemistry is premature. There is an insufficient body of agreed facts for it to be possible to write a textbook which would set forth a body of methods and knowledge which would be agreed to without question by the great majority of workers in this field. I wish therefore to make it clear that this book is not intended in any way as a textbook. It is very largely a record of experiments which I have carried out myself, or which have been carried out by other research workers with whom I have been closely associated. Any of the individual methods given here may well be superseded in a few years. I do, however, hope that a good deal of what is recorded here may be regarded as in the nature of a blueprint for future developments in cytochemistry. The general endeavour which is contained in this work, namely, the development of rigorous methods, is a key matter without which cytochemistry is a futile study.

Cytochemistry is pre-eminently a field which calls for a team of workers. The reason for this is that it demands a high standard of knowledge in each of the fields of biology, chemistry, and physics. Unfortunately, many of the methods which have been developed so far appear at first glance to be so simple that the necessity for rigorous treatment has largely tended to be ignored. There have, of course, been a number of outstanding instances of compliance with the experimental criteria which are required: this is obvious to all who know of the work of Feulgen, of Caspersson, or of Commoner. But the general tendency has been to suppose that anyone who can cut a tissue section and make up a standard solution is competent to carry out cytochemical investigations. Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed . . .

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