Correspondence | Published:

Biochemistry has outgrown its traditional boundaries

Nature volume 443, page 632 (12 October 2006) | Download Citation



Your Editorial “What's in a name?” (Nature 442, 486; 2006) makes the case for the importance of chemistry to current 'molecular sciences' but contains the unfortunate statement that biochemistry is “associated primarily with the study of enzyme kinetics”. This is a narrow and dated view of the subject.

In fact, the revolution in modern biology has been underpinned by the application of traditional biochemistry to fields as diverse as genetics, cell biology and ecology. To acknowledge the importance of chemistry to biology but to regard biochemistry as little more than the study of enzyme kinetics displays an ignorance both of the courses that make up a modern degree in biochemistry and of the content of biochemistry journals.

What is in a name? Many traditionally trained biochemists would happily describe themselves as molecular or cellular biologists. The boundaries in science have all but disappeared, and a good thing too. However, if we are to debate traditional labels, please don't take the richly diverse subject of biochemistry and define it by a single discipline.

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  1. The Biochemical Society, Eagle House, 16 Procter Street, London WC1V 6NX, UK

    • Chris Kirk


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