Starting in the early 1970s, a type of programmed cell death called apoptosis began to receive attention. Over the next three decades, research in this area continued at an accelerated rate. In the early 1990s, a second type of programmed cell death, autophagy, came into focus. Autophagy has been studied in mammalian cells for many years. The recent application of the yeast genetic system has allowed the field to expand rapidly. Continued studies in these and other eukaryotic systems are likely to provide tremendous insight into autophagy, particularly at the mechanistic level. Autophagy is a process in which a cell carries out “self eating” either in response to starvation or various hormonal cues. This process occurs in all eukaryotic cells. It plays a normal role in cellular physiology but has received tremendous attention in the last few years because it has been shown to correlate with various diseases in humans. For example, defects in autophagy have been linked to cancer, cardiomyopathy and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. One of the most distinctive features of this book is that it is the only comprehensive book (actually, the only book at all) available on this topic. It covers essentially all current areas of autophagy, including research in animal cells, yeast, Drosophila, C. elegans and plants. The authors are recognized experts in the field. The book is written at a level that is appropriate for both experts in the field and newcomers.