My Library

The Gene: An Intimate History

I read “The Gene: An Intimate History” by Siddhartha Mukherjee, a compelling read on the history of humanity’s knowledge of the gene, and ultimately of ourselves. “Even before the beginning of human history, people recognized that parents transmit something — call it “likeness” — to their children, and the children to their children, and so on down the generations.” Looking forward: “The gene is, and is not, the determiner of our identity. It behooves us to accept this paradox and understand it. As we learn how our genome defines us, we also learn how we transcend our genome. The gene, in the era of recombinant DNA, has become an instrument of its own manipulation. We have gene therapies and gene editing. In what Mukherjee calls the ‘post-genomic’ world, we will wield a power as exhilarating as it is treacherous. Simply put, ‘We will learn to read and write our selves, ourselves.’”

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