Free Shipping on orders over $25

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $140.00
  • October 2013
  • ISBN: 978-0-815-34454-4
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

Essential Cell Biology

Fourth Edition


See all options and formats starting at

Bruce Alberts (Author, University of California, San Francisco), Dennis Bray (Author), Karen Hopkin (Author, Science writer), Alexander D. Johnson (Author, University of California, San Francisco), Julian Lewis (Author), Martin Raff (Author, University College London (Emeritus)), Keith Roberts (Author, University of East Anglia (Emeritus)), Peter Walter (Author, University of California, San Francisco)


Sets the standard for teaching the central concepts of cell biology

This text provides a readily accessible introduction to the central concepts of cell biology. And its lively, clear writing and exceptional illustrations make it the ideal text for a first course in both cell and molecular biology. Molecular detail has been kept to a minimum. This decision delivers a cohesive conceptual framework for the basic science that underlies our current understanding of all of biology—including the biomedical sciences.


For access to student resources, please contact W. W. Norton customer support at

Thoroughly updated with the latest research—yet exceptionally student friendly

The text has been comprehensively updated to reflect the latest discoveries in cell biology, including new coverage on regulatory RNAs, epigenetics, induced pluripotent stem cells, cell suicide and reprogramming, the human genome, and our surprising inheritance from Neanderthals. Additionally, the Fourth Edition features updated coverage of many new and exciting experimental techniques including optogenetics, RNAi, powerful applications of new DNA sequencing technologies, and much more. 

Updated art program

This highly regarded art program emphasizes central concepts without unnecessary detail. It features more than 850 accurate, easy-to-follow images, each emphasizing an important concept. For the Fourth Edition, the figures were thoroughly updated and many new figures were added. Additionally, more than 150 narrated video clips, animations, molecular structures, and high-resolution micrographs accompany the text to further enhance the visual experience. 

A tested, consistent framework helps students learn

The popular How We Know sections in each chapter introduce experimental science by explaining both the methods and scientific findings of classic and current experiments. Additionally, thought-provoking questions are interspersed throughout the text and more questions are included at the end of the chapter to test students’ understanding and stimulate curiosity. The answers to these questions can be found in the back of the book.  

The most trusted authors in the field

The authors are known worldwide for their research, teaching, writing, and leadership in science and science education. Essential Cell Biology reflects the accuracy, authority, and currency that these authors bring to the renowned Molecular Biology of the Cell, yet it is written at an introductory level. 

    1. Cells: The Fundamental Units of Life
    2. Chemical Components of Cells
    3. Energy, Catalysis, and Biosynthesis
    4. Protein Structure and Function
    5. DNA and Chromosomes
    6. DNA Replication, Repair, and Recombination
    7. From DNA to Protein: How Cells Read the Genome
    8. Control of Gene Expression
    9. How Genes and Genomes Evolve
    10. Modern Recombinant DNA Technology
    11. Membrane Structure
    12. Transport Across Cell Membranes
    13. How Cells Obtain Energy from Food
    14. Energy Generation in Mitochondria and Chloroplasts
    15. Intracellular Compartments and Protein Transport
    16. Cell Signaling
    17. Cytoskeleton
    18. The Cell-Division Cycle
    19. Sexual Reproduction and the Power of Genetics
    20. Cellular Communities: Tissues, Stem Cells, and Cancer