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In the fifty years since DNA was discovered, we have seen extraordinary advances. For example, genetic testing has rapidly improved the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as Huntington's, cystic fibrosis, breast cancer, and Alzheimer's. But with this new knowledge comes difficultdecisions for countless people, who wrestle with fear about whether to get tested, and if so, what to do with the results. Am I My Genes? shows how real individuals have confronted these issues in their daily lives.
When Joselin Linder was in her twenties her legs suddenly started to swell. After years of misdiagnoses, doctors discovered a deadly blockage in her liver. Digging into family records and medical history, conducting interviews with relatives and friends, and reflecting on her own experiences with the Harvard doctor, Joselin pieces together the lineage of this deadly gene to write a gripping and unforgettable exploration of family, history, and love.
Dr. John Quackenbush, a renowned scientist and professor, conducts a fascinating tour of the history and science behind the Human Genome Project and the technologies that are revolutionizing the practice of medicine today. With a clear and engaging narrative style, he demystifies the fundamental principles of genetics and molecular biology, including the astounding ways in which genes function, alone or together with other genes and the environment, to either sustain life or trigger disease. In addition, Dr. Quackenbush goes beyond medicine to examine how DNA-sequencing technology is changing how we think of ourselves as a species by providing new insights about our earliest ancestors and reconfirming our inextricable link to all life on earth.
From New York Times bestselling author and world-renowned doctor and geneticist Francis Collins, a book that will forever change how you think about your body, your health, and the future of medicine. Twenty-one million Americans are affected by 6,000 so-called rare and orphan diseases, many of which are primarily attributable to misspelled genes. And virtually all diseases have a significant hereditary component. There have been many stories in the media about women who are testing to see if they have a mutation that leads to breast cancer, or family members who are strongly at risk for heart disease or Huntington's disease. Yet the revolution is much more fundamental than this: diabetes, heart disease, the common cancers, mental illness, asthma, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, and more, all of these diseases are having their secrets unlocked. Now, with a simple home test, costing a few hundred dollars, you can learn the secrets of your own DNA.
Distinguished geneticists, Stanley Fields and Mark Johnston help us make sense of the genetic revolution that is upon us. Fields and Johnston tell real life stories that hinge on the inheritance of one tiny change rather than another in an individual's DNA: a mother wrongly accused of poisoning her young son when the true killer was a genetic disorder; the screen siren who could no longer remember her lines because of Alzheimer's disease; and the president who was treated with rat poison to prevent another heart attack.
In Mercies in Disguise, acclaimed New York Times science reporter and bestselling author Gina Kolata tells the story of the Baxleys, an almost archetypal family in a small town in South Carolina. A proud and determined clan, many of them doctors, they are struck one by one with an inscrutable illness. They finally discover the cause of the disease after a remarkable sequence of events that many saw as providential. Meanwhile, science, progressing for a half a century along a parallel track, had handed the Baxleys a resolution--not a cure, but a blood test that would reveal who had the gene for the disease and who did not. And science would offer another dilemma--fertility specialists had created a way to spare the children through an expensive process. A work of narrative nonfiction, Mercies in Disguise is the story of a family that took matters into its own hands when the medical world abandoned them.
Mukherjee (medicine, Columbia Univ.) develops an intricate, detailed story describing the history of the modern concept of the gene. As a unit of genetic material and the central element of ancestral information, genes represent familial relationships, the product of evolutionary change, and a target for modern biopharmaceuticals. This work begins in the 1850s with Mendel and Darwin and then moves through the early 1900s with mutant analysis in Thomas Morgan's fruit flies, the 1950s Watson and Crick discovery of DNA structure, and the birth of biotechnology at Genentech in the 1980s. The discussion finishes in the modern era, with the current explorations in human heredity, the human genome sequence, and the puzzling role of epigenetics. Using personal and historical anecdotes, the creative story explores the personalities and challenges of the major players and their discoveries, framed by the culture and collaborations in which these individuals worked.