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The Gene: An Intimate History

Siddhartha Mukherjee (Author)

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.

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. Above all, 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.

This is an epic, moving history of a scientific idea being brought 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. 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.

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About the author

Siddhartha Mukherjee

Siddhartha Mukherjee is currently a PhD student at the Department of Chemical Engineering in Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands, where he works on transport phenomena and computational fluid dynamics. An alumnus of VIT University, Vellore, he traces back the roots of his research interest in fluid mechanics to during his Bachelors education in Mechanical Engineering. Also an avid photographer with a passion for art, his first serious step in the direction of academic research was with a synthetic project combining architectural aesthetics in the Indus valley civilization with mechanical engineering, where he studied the energy efficiency of these ancient building forms in light of modern-day engineering driven sustainable building design, under the guidance of Prof. Satyajit Ghosh. This research helped him secure a fully funded admission to TU Delft for a Masters in Mechanical Engineering. His outlook is to strike a harmony between science and art, for the two he believes are equally important and relevant to life and society. He also enjoys Classical music and plays the guitar and piano.

Both, Siddhartha and Dhruv have been mentored by Prof. Satyajit Ghosh. This book has been compiled as part of Dhruv’s final year project work at VIT University, Vellore.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Gene: An Intimate History
Format Hardcover
Date published: 21.05.2016
Edition 1st. ed.
Language: English
isbn 9780670087143
length 592p.,
Subjects History