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The Gene: An Intimate History

The Gene: An Intimate History


The Gene: An Intimate History

evaluări:
4.5/5 (180 evaluări)
Lungime:
19 hours
Lansat:
May 17, 2016
ISBN:
9781508211396
Format:
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Nota editorului

Fascinating science…

Mukherjee is the author of the Nobel Prize-winning “The Emperor of All Maladies,” a study of cancer that brought science from multiple disciplines into a readable and humane work of scholarship. “The Gene” achieves the same goals, making the study of genetics comprehensible to dilettantes and scientists alike.

Descriere

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author of The Emperor of All Maladies-a magnificent history of the gene and a response to the defining question of the future: What becomes of being human when we learn to "read" and "write" our own genetic information?

The extraordinary Siddhartha Mukherjee has a written a biography of the gene as deft, brilliant, and illuminating as his extraordinarily successful biography of cancer. Weaving science, social history, and personal narrative to tell us the story of one of the most important conceptual breakthroughs of modern times, Mukherjee animates the quest to understand human heredity and its surprising influence on our lives, personalities, identities, fates, and choices.

Throughout the narrative, the story of Mukherjee's own family-with its tragic and bewildering history of mental illness-cuts like a bright, red line, reminding us of the many questions that hang over our ability to translate the science of genetics from the laboratory to the real world. In superb prose and with an instinct for the dramatic scene, he describes the centuries of research and experimentation-from Aristotle and Pythagoras to Mendel and Darwin, from Boveri and Thomas Morgan to Crick, Watson and Rosa Franklin, all the way through the revolutionary twenty-first century innovators who mapped the human genome.

As The New Yorker said of The Emperor of All Maladies, "It's hard to think of many books for a general audience that have rendered any area of modern science and technology with such intelligence, accessibility, and compassion…An extraordinary achievement." Riveting, revelatory, and magisterial history of a scientific idea coming to life, and an essential preparation for the moral complexity introduced by our ability to create or "write" the human genome, The Gene is a must-read for everyone concerned about the definition and future of humanity. This is the most crucial science of our time, intimately explained by a master.
Lansat:
May 17, 2016
ISBN:
9781508211396
Format:
Carte audio

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Despre autor

Siddhartha Mukherjee is the author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction, and The Laws of Medicine. He is the editor of Best Science Writing 2013. Mukherjee is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a cancer physician and researcher. A Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford, and Harvard Medical School. He has published articles in Nature, The New England Journal of Medicine, The New York Times, and Cell. He lives in New York with his wife and daughters. Visit his website at: SiddharthaMukherjee.com  


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  • On his popular books blog, Gates describes doctor and Pulitzer Prize–winning author Siddhartha Mukherjee as "the perfect person to guide us through the past, present, and future of genome science. … He is also a beautiful storyteller."

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  • (5/5)
    A fascinating view into the history, present and future of genetics, from the author of the equally fascinating book on cancer, "The Emperor of all Maladies". The audiobook version is also done very well. Recommended!
  • (4/5)
    A challenging read for me, given its length and unfamiliar subject material. Yet, I’m glad that I persevered as it gave me a better understanding of these important scientific advances that will impact the next wave of human development. Mukherjee has done an admirable job of explaining the evolution of genetics up to today for a lay person, and while I could wish it was shorter, I didn’t have a problem with the repetition of key points as it helps the lay reader connect/ recall the points.
  • (5/5)
    I think I have a pretty good understanding of genetics, DNA, and cell biology. Mukherjee makes it into a great and thought provoking story. After a well done recapitulation of the history of the developing science of human understanding of inheritance he goes on to discuss the developing science of generic engineering and the ethical and philosophical dilemmas it embodies. He personalized the discussion by telling the story of mental illness in his family. While solving the ethical dilemmas isn't a scientific problem his understanding of the science informs his analysis of the issues. An enjoyable read.
  • (4/5)
    The biography of Cancer was much more engrossing and thrilling. this is a bit murkier, a bit drier.
  • (5/5)
    Great book about the history of science and its progress in understanding the human genome, heredity and disease. It is not only focus on the result of the discoveries, but also on the humans behind them, their mistakes in the process, their false ideas and the huge impact on society. Nicely written, mixes pieces of personal stories of both the author but of some of the patients and scientists involved. Presents a clear, summarized picture of the status of the current understanding and, more important, what is not yet known and what are the moral/ethical issues that might be required to be dealt with in the near future.
  • (5/5)
    Author Siddhartha Mukherjee captures the excitement, frustration and stubborn efforts of the people who uncovered the mysteries of heredity and genetic information. He carefully lays out the scientific advances for clear understanding and cites a mountain of sources. I hope to read some of the mountain of sources!
  • (4/5)
    This was a bit of a disappointment. Partly that is purely my own taste - I was looking for more scientific detail and less in the way of background stories - but it's also the fact that, as a narrative it's competent but not gripping. The earlier part of the book, down to the cracking of the genetic code and the crystallographic analysis of haemoglobin, goes over ground which was dealt with in a very much superior way by Judson's The Eighth Day of Creation. The latter part is spotty and unfocussed, and is less interested in genes themselves than in what people make of them.
  • (5/5)
    I'm a big fan of The Emperor of All Maladies and so had this one on my wish list for awhile. Once again Mukherjee takes a very complex subject and makes it compelling for non-experts. I came away with a new appreciation of the history of gene research and the promise and peril of gene therapy in the future. Really great book!
  • (5/5)
    This is an excellent history of our understanding of genetics.As a historian myself, I often find that the science of history is the best way for me to understand science. That is, if I can learn how our understanding of a scientific topic has changed, an dhow we discovered what we know, I usually understand it better than if I just dove directly into the science. That proved to be the case with this book. It also helps that Mukherjee is an excellent writer - he makes the science very interesting, and explains a complex subject very clearly.Genetics is fascinating, but the history of our understanding is also fascinating. It is full of moral quandaries, breakthrough discoveries, interesting personalities, and landmark events. It is also fascinating to see where we stand right now, how much we have to learn, and how much progress we are making right now. The possibilities are amazing and daunting.
  • (5/5)
    I am in utter awe of this book. Truly. It's fascinating and troubling and I wanted to start reading it all over again once I finished.
  • (3/5)
    5521. The Gene An Intimate History, by Siddhartha Mukherjee (read 22 Dec 2017) This book, published in 2016, is a study of the history and research related to the gene (defined in the glossary as "a unit of inheritance, normally comprised of a stretch of DNA that codes for a protein or for an RNA chain (in special cases, genes might be carried in RNA form).". I read the author's Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Emperor of All Maladies, on 22 Jan 2012 and some of that book, read because I try to read Pulitzer prize winning books, was of interest. This book, The Gene, is also of interest at times, especially when telling the history of the early work in regard to the gene, carried on by Father Gregor Mendel, O.S.A., and Charles Darwin. But after telling of their work and of the events connected to the case of Buck v. Bell (a U.S. Supreme Court case the opinion in which was authored by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. and which I remembered from my constitutional law course and knew was a deeply flawed decision beloved by folk like Hitler), the book spent many boring pages relating to research not easily followed by a guy like me, and I thought of quitting reading the book--something I hardly ever do--but then it improved some as it finanly seemed to give some consideration to the ethical aspects of gene research and the tiering with genes in the unborn and the born person. This was of interest as the possibility of pre-birth testing was discussed, (and blithely suggesting such would give parents a chance to have their unborn child killoed if it seemed such child would not have the health the parents wanted). There was even discussion that soldiers could have appropriate genes modified so as to be braver--or more ruthless? I felt the author was not as concerned about he ethical implications as I would be. Anyway, the book did not always make me eager to read therein and finishing it was an end I looked forward to.
  • (5/5)
    *Free e-book ARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss/Above the Treeline in exchange for an honest review. No money or other goods were exchanged, and all views are my own.*Starting with Charles Darwin and Gregor Mandel and working his way through history to the present and future of genetic technologies, Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of the award-winning Emperor of Maladies turns his attention to genetics.The author, himself a practicing physician, gives us the broad history and a personal view, as his family has had a genetic tendency towards schizophrenia and bipolar disease. He addresses the darker side of genetics history with a chapter on eugenics, mentions controversies such as the work either inadvertently borrowed or purposely stolen from Rosalind Franklin when Watson and Crick were modeling DNA, and treads lightly - sometimes with really insightful comments - on ethical questions about our scientific abilities to mess with the human genome. It's a thorough yet accessible history that I recommend to anyone interested in genetics.
  • (4/5)
    Popular science account of the "quest to decipher the master-code that makes and defines humans". From Gregor Mendel to Darwin, Crick and Watson and onwards to the first sequencing of the human genome and beyond, it is a fascinating tale, well told. Some of the detail escapes my non scientific brain but the scale of future opportunity for medical applications fire my imagination.
  • (5/5)
    The Gene: An Intimate HistorySiddhartha MukherjeeMay 17, 2017I finished this book about 4 days ago, it took about 2 weeks to read, held my interest throughout. Mukherjee writes very well, and includes his family's genetic history of schizophrenia as a way of personalizing the book. The mechanism of heredity was a central problem for the theory of evolution, and was not recognized as solve, until Hugo de Vries and William Bateson, in the first decade of the 20th century realized the importance of Gregor Mendel's experiments on peas, which had been published in 1865. The particle of heredity was further defined by Thomas Morgan's work on fruit fly genetics, and he found the phenomenon of linkage. Oswald Avery showed that hereditable characteristics could be transferred between organisms by DNA in the 1940's, and Rosalind Franklin, James Watson and Francis Crick unraveled the structure of DNA in 1953. Since then, many names familiar from my course in biochemistry contributed the ability to manipulate genes, the most recent of which, CRISPR-Cas 9, is extremely simple to use, and will allow precise editing of genetic material. There is a current moratorium on inserting manipulated genetic material into germ line cells, but that will likely not last.I have studied much of this material, and therefore flew through many of the explanations aimed at those unfamiliar with biochemistry. That helped me keep up the reading pace, and I was always entertained
  • (5/5)
    Like his book "The Emperor of all Maladies," this is a must read for anyone with even a mild interest in genetics. Mukherjee has produced a comprehensive and readable book that I wish all my students would read. I teach a college level genetics class, in which nearly all the things he mentions in this book are covered, albeit in a simpler fashion. Of course, that is the elegance of this book, it makes genetics something that anyone can learn about.
  • (4/5)
    This is an excellent book covering the history of genes as a scientific concept and which goes up to the present day to hint at what the future may hold for genetic research and possibilities. I appreciated how accessible this book was for someone of a nonscientific background and the author does a good job of connecting abstract scientific research to human consequences. I'd highly recommend this book for anyone interested in understanding more about genes.
  • (5/5)
    The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee (the author of The Emperor of All Maladies) is well-written and very informative - apparently it is also used in some schools as a textbook. I can see why. He wraps his personal story (schizophrenia among his family members) around a tour de force history of our understanding of genetics. He goes from the ancient Greeks through Mendel and Darwin and the scary eugenics period in this country and Hitler's Germany, to the present day and what may lie ahead. I loved his description of the work of Crick and Watson and others to discover the elegant double helix of DNA, with Crick and Watson's first metal sculpture of it still available to be seen in London.There are some sections where he gives more than this reader needed - particularly in the latter part of the book where he explains missteps in detail before success is obtained. No doubt those sections would be of particular interest to a student, but briefer would've been fine with me.Mukherjee is thoughtful about bigger issues, as well as being a skilled author. Here's a couple of quotes that stood out for me. The first quote is from artist Edward Munch, and comes in the author's discussion of how schizophrenia and other mental diseases sometimes are linked to exceptional creativity:{My troubles} are part of me and my art. They are indistinguishable from me, and treatment would destroy my art. I want to keep those sufferings.In a eugenics discussion, Mukherjee points out this sorry story:"Readers from India and China might note, with some shame and sobriety, that the largest 'negative eugenics' program in human history was not the systematic extermination of the Jews in Nazi Germany or Austria in the 1930s. That ghastly distinction falls on India and China, where more than 10 million female children are missing from adulthood because of infanticide, abortion and neglect."It's not a book like I Contain Multitudes, which is so attractively written that I'm sure it's read by many with only a marginal interest in microbes. My guess is that mainly fans of the subject matter or the author, or both, will read this one. They'll get plenty to enjoy and think about, including the ethical issues raised by our increasing ability to modify genes and potentially select for desirable traits.
  • (5/5)
    If you asked me 3 weeks ago if I was going to love a book on the history of genetics I would have looked at you like you were crazy...

    This book starts at the very beginning of the field with Darwin and Mendel and works its way all the way to present day with the creation of the human genome project and gene therapy.

    This was a such a fun book to read/listen to because even though it was extremely well researched and heavily detailed, it didn’t feel that way at all (aka dense and dry). There were actually a lot of moments which had sarcasm and humor throughout.

    I would highly recommend for anyone interested in genetics, eugenics and racism, gender identity and more!
  • (5/5)
    The writer beautifully builds its argument and story. The examples about patients and persons are so compelling to listen to. Superbly read, masterpiece of history!
  • (5/5)
    it can get really technical but I found out to be challenging and extremely interesting. learning about our self as individuals and as species should be with meticulous attention... It's the only way to have a trustworthy intuition about the future... I enjoy it very much... thumbs up!
  • (5/5)
    Comprehensive history of the thought behind the development of gene theories and the creation of experiments to test them out. While written for the layman, it neither compromises the emphasis on the scientific nor ignores the surrounding circumstances which affect the research. This is not a dry scientific account of progress nor is it a glib adventure story.
  • (5/5)
    Loved this audio book. It was full of great mini biographies that tracked the development of genomics from start to recent innovation. The stories of individual contributions to science were inspirational. I highly recommend this text to anyone with a high school level of biology or more.
  • (5/5)
    A keeper! A reference I will keep going back to!! The author does a phenomenal job charting the course of history to get us to where we are today where we can intentionally edit portions of our own makeup and hence alter who we are. Highly recommend.
  • (5/5)
    Only couple hours in but extremely good book. I read about 100 a year. I strongly recommend this one for your overall knowledge of science. It's fascinating and very well written. I'm surprised by how well it's written.
  • (4/5)
    Genes are not only the key to life, but holds the details of our history and our future too. In this book, Mukherjee takes us on a journey to uncover the origins of this master code and the story of discovering and deciphering it. It is a story that spans world history, but begins with a monk in an Augustinian monastery who discovers a unit of heredity in his study of peas. Mendel may not have been one of the first to be fascinated but the ideas of heredity, and he certainly wasn’t going to be the last. Darwin was one of the next with his discovery of evolution and the way that certain traits established themselves in the populations of finches on each of the Galapagos Islands.

    As science advanced during the latter part of the 19th century and into the 20th century, cells started to give up their secrets to the scientists that were studying them. Each discovery added to the knowledge of how each of us carries traits and characteristics from our parents. This dream of making the perfect human from good parents became the spectre that is eugenics, culminating in the horrors with the Nazi obsession with creating the perfect Aryan race and eliminating those that were deemed to be sub-human. Post world war two we knew more about the way that RNA and DNA worked, but no one could work out just how it did it. The brilliant X-ray images of DNA that Rosalind Franklin took gave Francis Crick and James Watson the insight to work out the construction of the beautiful double helix that is DNA. He describes the quest to map the entire human genome, a feat achieved by scientists working across the globe, who just beat a private company who had designs on patenting it.

    He is eminently qualified to write this, as he is the assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University. He brings us up to date with the latest research and discoveries in genetic research as well as posing the questions that we need to ask and answer as we learn how to change and write to the human genome. To cover all that we have found out about the gene, the book needs to be broad in scope. It is fairly detailed and occasionally baffling and incomprehensible to a non-scientist like myself, but thankfully not very often. Woven through the book too is the story of Mukherjee’s family and their reoccurring history of mental illness as it moved through the generations; it adds a nice personal touch to the book, showing just how our genes can affect us all. If you want a good overview of the history of the gene, you can’t go wrong starting here.
  • (4/5)
    Wonderfully lucid science-writing. I think the first four sections are the strongest- when the author gets closer to the present-day and tries to draw conclusions, the ratio of information to text goes down considerably.
  • (5/5)
    Wonderful and content rich telling of historical scientific development in one of the most important topics of humanity. Not only baked with an uncanny ease of high-quality story telling, but also iced with the topping of clever wit and irony.
  • (5/5)
    Every bit as monumental as Mukherjee's Pulitzer Prize winning THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES, this one traces the history of man's exploration of the mechanisms that underlie inheritance. The author has a gift for vividly depicting the many men and woman who gradually unraveled (and continue to unravel) the complex mechanisms by which the phenomenon of life proceeds.Once again, time constraints prohibited me from finishing this book before I had to return it to the library from which I had borrowed it. I hope to return to it in the future.
  • (5/5)
    While I've always been interested in the science of genetics, I knew little about the details until I read "The Gene: An Intimate History". Mr. Mukherjee did an amazing job keeping the reader interested and entertained while conveying some very complicated technical information about how genes work. I was thoroughly engrossed from beginning to end. One thing I appreciated was how he would come back to details he had already discussed - sometimes in a different way and other times as a reminder. For me this helped to allow the sometimes difficult concepts to sink in. I also enjoyed learning the history of the various discoveries. I had seen the PBS documentary "Cancer, The Emperor of All Maladies" which was based on the author's first book (although I had not read the book). The format of The Gene is very similar. The book will go to my all time favorites list, and I hope to see a PBS documentary based on it soon.
  • (5/5)
    I like to know things. When someone tells me, scorning my love of science, “Oh, they know genes aren’t the answer now,” I want to know what on earth they’re talking about… so I might have an answer I guess. After reading Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Gene: An Intimate History, I understand a lot more about genes, genetics, heritability and inheritability of traits and illnesses. And I sort of, partly, understand about those epigenetic things that mean the maker of that “genes aren’t the answer” statement clearly didn’t understand after all. This pleases me--like I said, I like to know things.I thoroughly enjoyed this book—very readable prose, fascinating history, timely questions, and the overwhelming sense of “Wow!” What we can do, what we can’t, what mistakes we’ve made and how… The author offers a fascinating tale of discovery, filled with a sense of discovery (even for the reader who’s already looked for lots of answers). It's a tale of great people; great (and all too repeatable) errors of judgement; great stories; and a truly informative look at genes, genetics, science and humanity. I love this book!Disclosure: I was given it as a Christmas present and was hooked as soon as I began reading.