Second to the ""New Physics"" (see Taylor, to follow), the ""New Biology"" (molecular biology) is the most overworked subject in popular science; Chedd therefore starts off with the handicap of trying to say anything original. The several chapters on the discovery of the structure of DNA and the breaking of the genetic code cannot compete in liveliness with Watson's Double Helix which included all the elan, rivalries and dead-ends of scientific endeavor at its best. Chedd's summary is very pale by comparison. Chedd does bring things up-to-date a bit. Comparative protein analysis has led to discoveries about the course of evolution and the origin of life; molecular studies are encouraging new theories of aging, cancer, growth and even memory. But like nearly all such summaries, this suffers from an outsider's viewpoint and makes science pretty dull reading -- which it doesn't have to be.