The Gene

The Gene

An Intimate History

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
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The Pulitzer Prize-winning author draws on his scientific knowledge and research to describe the magisterial history of a scientific idea, the quest to decipher the master-code of instructions that makes and defines humans; that governs our form, function, and fate; and that determines the future of our children. The story of the gene begins in earnest in an obscure Augustinian abbey in Moravia in 1856 where Gregor Mendel, a monk working with pea plants, stumbles on the idea of a "unit of heredity." It intersects with Darwin's theory of evolution, and collides with the horrors of Nazi eugenics in the 1940s. The gene transforms postwar biology. It invades discourses concerning race and identity and provides startling answers to some of the most potent questions coursing through our political and cultural realms. It reorganizes our understanding of sexuality, gender identity, sexual orientation, temperament, choice, and free will, thus raising the most urgent questions affecting our personal realms. Above all, the story of the gene is driven by human ingenuity and obsessive minds--from Mendel and Darwin to Francis Crick, James Watson, and Rosalind Franklin to the thousands of scientists working today to understand the code of codes. Woven through the book is the story of Mukherjee's own family and its recurring pattern of schizophrenia, a haunting reminder that the science of genetics is not confined to the laboratory but is vitally relevant to everyday lives. The moral complexity of genetics reverberates even more urgently today as we learn to "read" and "write" the human genome--unleashing the potential to change the fates and identities of our children and our children's children.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2016
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781476733500
1476733503
9781476733524
147673352X
Branch Call Number: 616.042 M95h
Characteristics: xi, 592 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Award-winning author Mukherjee delivers an astounding history of the remarkable ‘gene’. The narrative follows closely the development of the human gene from its humble beginnings in 1856 to the breadth of knowledge in the 'Human Genome Project'.

The Pulitzer prize winning author Mukerjee delivers an astounding history of the remarkable ‘gene’. The narrative closely follows the development of the human gene from its humble beginnings by the monk Mendel in 1856 to the breadth of knowledge in the 'Human Genome Project'. Mukherjee masterfull... Read More »

The Pulitzer prize winning author Mukerjee delivers an astounding history of the remarkable ‘gene’. The narrative closely follows the development of the human gene from its humble beginnings by the monk Mendel in 1856 to the breadth of knowledge in the 'Human Genome Project'. Mukherjee masterful... Read More »


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a
AaronAardvark1940
Nov 14, 2017

Wow!
An easy read. Mukherjee delved into the personalities of various scientists involved in studies of the gene, which assisted my understanding of the development of their theories. The use of his own family history grounded me in the application of these theories. His examples; his descriptions; everything was so lucid. I found his discussion of gender and gender identity very interesting. The penultimate section (Post Genome) raised all kinds of red flags as to the future of humanity.
Anybody with even minimal curiosity about genetics should read this book.

y
yycdaisy
May 22, 2017

This very long book (500 pages of text) is mainly a history book. It takes 300 pages just to get to this century.

m
m0k1m3
Apr 12, 2017

I love this book so much - it brings tears to my eyes. Although I'm not an anti-scientist, it's nothing I've been drawn to in my life as I'm, generally, confused and befuddled by the language and theory... sometimes I feel as though I'm sinking in quicksand when trying to trudge through an article on ideas that have my interest. Here - still very much science (and still difficult for me to assimilate) - is a read that left me breathless and wanting more... Were I a teacher (literature for me), this book would be an assignment. I'm brimming with new and terrifying thots - resonating with his descriptive phrase of "ethical vertigo". History, Science, Psychology --- Humanity, and a personal saga - Recommend highly.

o
Orcacreative
Jan 16, 2017

Epic!
Warning: this book can cause white supremacists to run out in the sun and start hitting themselves violently in the head, sometimes even with a baseball bat that resembles some tools once used by neanderthals.

beacutfelgroluc2014utr Dec 24, 2016

Superb read.

t
Tylerharvey
Dec 17, 2016

This book was a gem.

r
rogyoung2
Nov 20, 2016

Great book. Well written, very readable, but not an easy subject to grasp. It cleared up some of the things I learned about heredity in high school, 45 years ago. And, this book taught me about the huge advances in knowledge about genetics, biology, and and physiology since then. There are also examples, some troubling, about the history of eugenics, and about human experiments in the name of science.

s
SteveBush
Oct 26, 2016

An authoritative and comprehensive look at both history and current events in the world of genetics. Excellent summary of a subject highly relevant to today's bioscience revolution.

g
GummiGirl
Aug 08, 2016

As a non-scientist, this was a challenging book for me, but well worth the time. It kept my interest even during the most technical sections. The author is remarkably good at conveying both personal stories and the overall importance of the subject.

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Tylerharvey
Dec 17, 2016

Tylerharvey thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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