paper, 196 pp., $35.00
This book was the result of a two-day conference with 13 topics presented at the Missouri Botanical Garden in 2006 in honor of Dr. Gordon Cragg, former chief of the Natural Products Branch of the National Cancer Institute. Realizing Nature’s Potential honors Cragg’s career as a tireless advocate for the conservation of nature in order to maintain a rich chemical diversity that has been vital to the development of new pharmaceuticals.
The heyday of natural products discovery was during 1970s and 1980s. Since then, there has been a relative decline in patents due to the development of new technologies to allow screening of large combinatorial chemistry libraries. While the bulk of the articles are beyond the understanding of a non-scientist, the story of Taxol, derived from the bark of yew trees, and now synthesized as standard treatment in breast and ovarian cancer, is quite readable.
— Adele Kleine, Library volunteer and garden writer, Chicago Botanic Garden