I'm starting to study Bioinformatics, I already have basic knowledge of Biochemistry and Genetics, but I want to buy a reference book, to use when I forget a concept (I'm a Computer Science student, not a Biotechnologist).

I have already had contact with the following two books (for basic concepts):

  • Molecular Biology of the Cell, Alberts;
  • Principles of Biochemistry, Lehninger.

Which is better for my use or do you have another recommendation?

I prefer a generalist book, which covers the basic concepts, and not a Bioinformatics book, which covers basic concepts in one chapter.

  • $\begingroup$ check Voet's Principles of Biochemistry By Donald Voet, Charlotte W. Pratt, Judith G. Voet · 2018 .... from google Voet & Voet is definitely the more comprehensive and it's the one I use most frequently as a reference (it's sitting above my desk in lab whereas Lehninger is back in a box in my apartment). However, Lehninger probably does a better job of presenting the material and might be better for a novice at biochemistry looking to self-study. $\endgroup$
    – pippo1980
    Mar 27 at 16:47
  • $\begingroup$ and of course chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/… $\endgroup$
    – pippo1980
    Mar 27 at 16:51

1 Answer 1


For a reputable up to date text book on biochemistry I would only consider

'Biochemistry" Tenth Edition ©2023 by Jeremy Berg; Gregory Gatto Jr.; Justin Hines; John L. Tymoczko; Lubert Stryer published by MacMillan.

Stryer has been in the text book biochemistry business for a long time. I agree it's not a cheap option and I stopped reading biochemistry text books some time ago (see below), but this should be as good as it gets.

Don't use Lehninger although admittedly the 7th Edition is 2017, but biochemistry is a very fast moving field and you need to be as up to date as possible if you are relying on text books as a primary source of information. To be relying on text books they need to have a "Grade A" reputation and it to be extremely to date. Few text books stand the test of time.

I've taught text book stuff from courses that relied on "out of date editions", i.e. the authors have not updated the edition for a while. It can be a nightmare because essentially you need to navigate material that you know is incorrect and insubstantial, then accommodate and moderate these deficiencies in the end of course exam. Thats okay at a certain level, at research grade it gets unstuck.


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