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The Gene: An Intimate History (2016)

de Siddhartha Mukherjee

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
2,611745,679 (4.2)125
History. Medical. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:2017 Audie Award Finalist for Non-Fiction
The #1 NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller
The basis for the PBS Ken Burns Documentary The Gene: An Intimate History

From the Pulitzer Prize??winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies??a fascinating history of the gene and "a magisterial account of how human minds have laboriously, ingeniously picked apart what makes us tick" (Elle).

"Sid Mukherjee has the uncanny ability to bring together science, history, and the future in a way that is understandable and riveting, guiding us through both time and the mystery of life itself." ??Ken Burns
"Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee dazzled readers with his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Emperor of All Maladies in 2010. That achievement was evidently just a warm-up for his virtuoso performance in The Gene: An Intimate History, in which he braids science, history, and memoir into an epic with all the range and biblical thunder of Paradise Lost" (The New York Times). In this biography Mukherjee brings to life the quest to understand human heredity and its surprising influence on our lives, personalities, identities, fates, and choices.

"Mukherjee expresses abstract intellectual ideas through emotional stories...[and] swaddles his medical rigor with rhapsodic tenderness, surprising vulnerability, and occasional flashes of pure poetry" (The Washington Post). Throughout, the story of Mukherjee's own family??with its tragic and bewildering history of mental illness??reminds us of the questions that hang over our ability to translate the science of genetics from the laboratory to the real world. In riveting and dramatic prose, he describes the centuries of research and experimentation??from Aristotle and Pythagoras to Mendel and Darwin, from Boveri and Morgan to Crick, Watson and Franklin, all the way through the revolutionary twenty-first century innovators who mapped the human genome.

"A fascinating and often sobering history of how humans came to understand the roles of genes in making us who we are??and what our manipulation of those genes might mean for our future" (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel), The Gene is the revelatory and magisterial history of a scientific idea coming to life, the most crucial science of our time, intimately explained by a master. "The Gene is a book we all should read
… (mais)
  1. 10
    p53: The Gene that Cracked the Cancer Code de Sue Armstrong (rodneyvc)
  2. 00
    A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes de Adam Rutherford (jigarpatel)
    jigarpatel: Summary of how humans have evolved with evidence found in genetics; interesting follow-up to Gene: An Intimate History.
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To understand life, requires an understanding of genes. The gene is a basic building block of life. Representing biological information. Instructions for processes. This book follows every step on the way to understanding genetics. From homunculus to evolution to the double helix. Each step had many missteps which raised many questions. But with very hard work, greater understanding of genetics was achieved. From an abstract idea to physical representation to manipulating genetics. Science is a tool which depends on how it is used. Genetic treatments are mired in the tragic history of eugenics. Fixing risky DNA can lead to many positive results, but genetics are complicated with still so much that is still needed to learn.

There were many early ideas about hereditary. During a time, hereditary theories challenged dominant narratives of creation so their investigations were suppressed. Over time the ideas were permitted which precipitated with evolution. Adaptation to nature. Evolution did not explain everything in heredity, as one concern was with blending of the genes. This led to Mendel empirical tests in which the understanding of dominant and recessive genes came about.

Eventually the heredity transmission would become applied, called eugenics. Galton used to term eugenics as artificial selection of genetic traits to better humanity. There seemed to be benefits to the application coming from the Americans, but many saw potential problem with eugenics which was a culling of the species. A preventative measure from perception that inferior breed of humans could lead to disaster. Others saw another tragic future which envisioned a homogenies people in whom many of the things that were considered weaknesses are bred out, to the detriment of society. Nature produces diversity so that there would be no systematic problems with everyone, but the eugenicists desired a pure society. Without diversity, species can lose the ability to evolve. Germany later used what they learned from the eugenicists in America to racially clean Germany, which was a dominant feature of their strategy during WW2.

Next came finding the location of genetics, in chromosomes. Looking for the determinants of a phenotype followed. This is part of where complexity of DNA takes place as a genotype, environment, triggers, and chance all collude to provide a phenotype. The variations determine the organisms’ attributes. Variations in genetics are called mutations. Mutations are neither superior or weaker, but are adapted to a particular environment. What seems fit in a given environment can be illness in another. What matters is a match between the organism and the environment. It isn’t the number of genes that matter, but the sophistication of the gene networks.

With technological improvements came gene editing. Using bacteria as a transmitted of DNA, impaired DNA can be repaired. The eugenicist past haunts genetic manipulation. Although there are overwhelming ethical questions with gene editing which most scientists are decrying, there are some cases in which gene editing was permitted. It appears that eugenics no longer has the culling effect, but it may cause people to alter future people’s gene for specific perceived benefits.

With the understanding of genetics, many scientists looked for social causes in genetics. From intelligence to gender. Even though meticulously studies, the genetic causes of particular social inclinations need to be better understood. Genetics may have some influence in the choices made, but it is drastic to say they explain the choices.

It is interesting to note that DNA is patentable. Although DNA is not an invention, it is patented. After Venter gene patent, there was a land grab for genetics. Now, many parts of the DNA are owned by various corporations in different countries. This means that many cures and diseases cannot be studies because of legal issues of owning the information.

An issue with this book is that it focuses too much on genetics being the cause. Although Mukherjee shows the complexity of genetics, the problem is that it is written in a deterministic manner. Sometimes, when showcasing the complexity is important, the author just writes what happened. There are also some scientific method problems of looking at just genes such as confirmation bias and round-trip fallacy. The narrowness of the studies causes the scientists to miss a lot of the information that they are not looking for. The book is generally well written, but sometimes, it requires background knowledge of genetics to understand how everything fits together. ( )
  Eugene_Kernes | Jun 4, 2024 |
Dear Dr. Mukerjee,

Thanks for the great update on what's going on in the genetics business. Just another reason for me to encourage my daughter to consider a career in biology or cellular biology or evolutionary biology. As we turn our attention to the little world under the microscope we see even more variety and complexity than we could have imagined....even 30 years ago. I couldn't agree with you more that I should be a little worried that scientists are plowing ahead with experiments genetically altering human embryos and accidentally creating unexpected mutations. While we learn more about genes influencing specific diseases these relationships are rarely one-to-one, have relationships contingent on the environment, and generally don't lend themselves to, ahem, cut-and-paste. I want to believe that gene therapy will yield big dividends for human health, reducing misery in the world, and promoting long useful lives. Genes, like leaves of grass, have a much longer evolutionary life than do humans. Bacteria, viruses also have been fighting the good fight for survival much, much longer than humans. And so I think fruitful to ask again, to what degree are we the masters of our fate, even when we monkey with the gene pool? I'll be staying up late nights to ponder that conundrum. ( )
  MylesKesten | Jan 23, 2024 |
Un libro magnifico y maravilloso, una historia (del gen) impresionante, contada de una forma simplemente magistral. Después de leer este libro cambia (o reafirma) tu forma de ver la vida. Disfrute tanto leerlo!! (cuanto me hubiera gustado podérselo recomendar a mi padre para platicar/comentarlo con el). ( )
  keplerhc | Jan 22, 2024 |
Siddhartha Mukherjee has that rare quality of making it sound like he’s cramming a bucketload of information in his words, all the while not losing brevity. In The Emperor of All Maladies, this quality was suppressed – the topic of cancer is weighty, and thus brevity was preserved over information density. This quality is out in full force in Gene, so you must take a breather every fifty or sixty pages.
Genecovers so much information about genetics that after finishing it, you will feel that you have absorbed those information pellets sometimes found in science fiction. It follows a similar pathway to The Emperor, with Mukherjee tracking the story of genetics from its ancestors (including debunked theories such as the sperm-containing mini-children) to the present, where we’re making quantum leaps in the field every few years.
Aside from its remarkable history, the novel delves into the gene and what makes it tick. For example - how mutations mess with (or improve) a genome, how DNA can be combined to form recombinant DNA not generally found on a genome, how gene editing works, and how our genome can have a genetic ‘memory’ of sorts.
More soberly, however, Mukherjee illuminates the reader with digressions centred on his family – and how mental illness was so pervasive in his family. It lends the entire novel a human touch that you cannot help but reflect on. Saying that the gene has been at the forefront of modern is something else, but saying that it has impacted the author’s life brings it into some perspective – not missing the trees for the forest, if you will.
Gene is a rich and illuminating history of genetics and digressions into its probable future. I am not sure where genetics will land in even twenty years – but I now know watching the field progress will be breathtaking. ( )
  SidKhanooja | Sep 1, 2023 |
Engaging and readable, neither dumbed-down nor densely academic. Very interesting to get an overview of developments since I left uni (and of everything I didn't learn there as well). ( )
1 vote Kiramke | Jun 27, 2023 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 75 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
The story of this invention and this discovery has been told, piecemeal, in different ways, but never before with the scope and grandeur that Siddhartha Mukherjee brings to his new history, “The Gene.” ... As he did in his Pulitzer ­Prize-winning history of cancer, “The Emperor of All Maladies” (2010), Mukherjee views his subject panoptically, from a great and clarifying height, yet also intimately.
 
... By the time “The Gene” is over, Dr. Mukherjee has covered Mendel and his peas, Darwin and his finches. He’s taken us on the quest of Watson, Crick and their many unsung compatriots to determine the stuff and structure of DNA. We learn about how genes were sequenced, cloned and variously altered, and about the race to map our complete set of DNA, or genome, which turns out to contain a stunning amount of filler material with no determined function.

...Many of the same qualities that made “The Emperor of All Maladies” so pleasurable are in full bloom in “The Gene.” The book is compassionate, tautly synthesized, packed with unfamiliar details about familiar people....

... “The Gene” is more pedagogical than dramatic; as often as not, the stars of this story are molecules, not humans. Dr. Mukherjee still has a poignant personal connection to the material — mental illness has wrapped itself around his family tree like a stubborn vine, claiming two uncles and a cousin on his father’s side — but this book does not aim for the gut. It aims for the mind...
adicionado por rybie2 | editarNew York Times, Jennifer Senior (May 8, 2016)
 

» Adicionar outros autores (4 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Siddhartha Mukherjeeautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Boutsikaris, DennisNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Drost-Plegt, TraceyTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Veen, René vanTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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An exact determination of the laws of heredity will probably work more change in man's outlook on the world, and in his power over nature, than any other advance in natural knowledge that can be foreseen.
—William Bateson
Human beings are ultimately nothing but carriers—passageways—for genes.  They ride us into the ground like racehorses from generation to generation.  Genes don't think about what constitutes good or evil.  They don't care whether we are happy or unhappy.  We're just means to an end for them.  The only thing they think about is what is most efficient for them.
—Haruki Murakami, IQ84
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To Priyabala Mukherjee (1906-1985), who knew the perils;
to Carrie Buck (1906-1983), who experienced them.
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History. Medical. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:2017 Audie Award Finalist for Non-Fiction
The #1 NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller
The basis for the PBS Ken Burns Documentary The Gene: An Intimate History

From the Pulitzer Prize??winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies??a fascinating history of the gene and "a magisterial account of how human minds have laboriously, ingeniously picked apart what makes us tick" (Elle).

"Sid Mukherjee has the uncanny ability to bring together science, history, and the future in a way that is understandable and riveting, guiding us through both time and the mystery of life itself." ??Ken Burns
"Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee dazzled readers with his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Emperor of All Maladies in 2010. That achievement was evidently just a warm-up for his virtuoso performance in The Gene: An Intimate History, in which he braids science, history, and memoir into an epic with all the range and biblical thunder of Paradise Lost" (The New York Times). In this biography Mukherjee brings to life the quest to understand human heredity and its surprising influence on our lives, personalities, identities, fates, and choices.

"Mukherjee expresses abstract intellectual ideas through emotional stories...[and] swaddles his medical rigor with rhapsodic tenderness, surprising vulnerability, and occasional flashes of pure poetry" (The Washington Post). Throughout, the story of Mukherjee's own family??with its tragic and bewildering history of mental illness??reminds us of the questions that hang over our ability to translate the science of genetics from the laboratory to the real world. In riveting and dramatic prose, he describes the centuries of research and experimentation??from Aristotle and Pythagoras to Mendel and Darwin, from Boveri and Morgan to Crick, Watson and Franklin, all the way through the revolutionary twenty-first century innovators who mapped the human genome.

"A fascinating and often sobering history of how humans came to understand the roles of genes in making us who we are??and what our manipulation of those genes might mean for our future" (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel), The Gene is the revelatory and magisterial history of a scientific idea coming to life, the most crucial science of our time, intimately explained by a master. "The Gene is a book we all should read

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