It is a strange fact that many modern cell biochemists have a keen interest in biosynthetic processes, such as protein and nucleic biosynthesis or organelle biogenesis, but tend to regard degradative processes merely as irritating reactions that disrupt the flow of synthetic reactions. Historically, the elucidation of catabolic pathways preceded that of anabolic pathways, so that there is also a tendency to regard work on proteases, phospholipases, nucleases, etc., as somewhat "old-fashioned. " It is the great contribution of Professor Luzikov's book to show that, at least in the case of mito- chondrial research, the separation of studies on anabolic and cata- bolic processes has been very harmful. In an extremely erudite and measured way, the author carefully develops the argument that we can only understand mitochondrial biogenesis fully if we take into account the role of degradative processes. The action of lytic enzymes is shown not to be a random affair, but rather a process that is fully integrated into the process of mitochondrial assembly. A second important contribution of this book is the fact that it contains a masterly review of the fundamental literature on mitochon- drial structure, function, breakdown and synthesis presented in an integrated and logical manner.