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The Gene: An Intimate History

9780099584575
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THE NEW YORK TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER
BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK

‘Dramatic and precise… [A] thrilling and comprehensive account of what seems certain to be the most radical, controversial and, to borrow from the subtitle, intimate science of our time… He is a natural storyteller… A page-turner… Read this book and steel yourself for what comes next’
Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times

The Gene is the story of one of the most powerful and dangerous ideas in our history, from bestselling, prize-winning author Siddhartha Mukherjee.

Spanning the globe and several centuries, The Gene is the story of the quest to decipher the master-code that makes and defines humans, that governs our form and function.

This is an epic, moving history of a scientific idea coming to life, by the author of The Emperor of All Maladies. But woven through The Gene, like a red line, is also an intimate history – the story of Mukherjee’s own family and its recurring pattern of mental illness, reminding us that genetics is vitally relevant to everyday lives. These concerns reverberate 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.

The story of the gene begins in an obscure Augustinian abbey in Moravia in 1856 where a monk 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 post-war biology. It reorganizes our understanding of sexuality, temperament, choice and free will. This is a story driven by human ingenuity and obsessive minds – from Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel to Francis Crick, James Watson and Rosalind Franklin, and the thousands of scientists still working to understand the code of codes.

Majestic in its ambition, and unflinching in its honesty, The Gene gives us a definitive account of the fundamental unit of heredity – and a vision of both humanity’s past and future.

Cover:
Paperback
Edition Number:
1
ISBN:
9780099584575
Pages:
593
Author:
Mukherjee Siddhartha
Publisher:
BODLEY HEAD
Release Year:
2017

Siddhartha Mukherjee is a cancer physician and researcher. He is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a staff cancer physician at the CU/NYU Presbytarian Hospital. A former Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford (where he received a PhD studying cancer-causing viruses) and from Harvard Medical School. His laboratory focuses on discovering new cancer drugs using innovative biological methods. Mukherjee trained in cancer medicine at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute of Harvard Medical School and was on the staff at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He has published articles and commentary in such journals as Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, Neuron and the Journal of Clinical Investigation and in publications such as the New York Times and the New Republic. His work was nominated for Best American Science Writing, 2000 (edited by James Gleick). He lives in Boston & New York.

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