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The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee • genetics • heredity • genetic experiments

book cover of The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee - genetics

Siddhartha Mukherjee is a researcher, clinician focusing on genetics and best-selling author. His book – Cancer –  the Emperor of all maladies won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction. New York Times described him as one of the most important writers and thinkers of our time. Bill Gates put him on his list of recommended reading in 2016.

The Gene really is a masterpiece. For those who had some sort of biology but not a true in-depth genetics background, it really puts into perspective what you have probably learnt is now logically ordered in an excellent and engaging story. The book is written in a way to be accessible with just enough rendering of the scientific details so you don’t need a background in biology at all. All chapters have a historical and chronological order.

It begins in 350 BC with Aristotle’s astonishingly accurate theories covering heredity and ends in 2015 when humanity is almost capable to modify the genome of a human embryo.

The book also covers three major national eugenic programs, such as genetic experiments performed by Nazi Germany on concentration camp prisoners, brainwashing and re-education programs carried out on dissidents in the Soviet Union, and last but not least forced sterilizations in the ‘20s and ‘30s implemented in the United States on “feeble-minded” women.

A masterful synthesis of natural history, heredity, molecular genetics, genetic disease, medical ethics, human nature and its weaknesses.

The Gene: An Intimate History
by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Final rating:

Interesting story
Complexity of ideas
Flourish language

Book details:

Size: 592 pages
Published: 2016


Other information and reviews of this book on Goodreads:

Other useful links:
Siddhartha Mukherjee’s website:
Mukherjee on Wikipedia:
Other book the history of humanity – Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

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