This chapter provides a historical background to the field of glycobiology and an overview of this book. General terms found in the volume are considered, common monosaccharide units of glycoconjugates mentioned, and a uniform symbol nomenclature used for structural depictions presented. The major glycan classes discussed in the book are described, and an overview of the general pathways for their biosynthesis is provided. Topological issues relevant to biosynthesis and functions of glycoconjugates are also considered, and the growing role of these molecules in medicine, biotechnology, nanotechnology, bioenergy, and materials science is mentioned.
Copyright 2015-2017 by The Consortium of Glycobiology Editors, La Jolla, California. All rights reserved.