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She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers,…
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She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of… (original 2018; edition 2019)

by Carl Zimmer (Author)

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Presents a history of the human understanding of heredity and how it has shaped society, chronicling the transitions brought about by genetic research and making predictions about how evolving understandings are likely to impact the future.
Member:strawberryplur
Title:She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity
Authors:Carl Zimmer (Author)
Info:Dutton (2019), Edition: Reprint, 672 pages
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She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity by Carl Zimmer (2018)

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Showing 5 of 5
When people meet my children I often hear comments along the lines of; he is just like you, your daughter reminds me so much of your wife and similar comments. And it is true, their genetic inheritance comes directly from me and my wife and the blend of our genes has made three very different and unique children. What gets passed on and how is the subject of this weighty tome.

In this very researched book, Zimmer takes us back through our genetic history to show how these fragments make up our very being. Of the trillions of cells in our bodies, those that contain our DNA make us who we are, what we look like, how our health will be and countless other factors. But there is more to it than that, our genetic code is not the only thing passed from mother to child, echoes of past event from our father and his parents can be seen in the code, we get our first immune system via the placenta and the various microbes that ensure that we can live as passed on too.

There is a fascinating chapter on Chimeras – these are people who carry more than one set of DNA. This was never thought to be possible, but after various anomalies including where a mother was witnessed giving birth to a child, the DNA test said that it wasn’t her child. The investigation into it discovered how DNA can transfer between non-identical twins after one dies in the womb. A mother can even absorb some of the DNA from the child she is carrying.

There is a wealth of information and details in this substantial, but still a very readable book. Not only does he consider where we have got to in our understanding on DNA, but he contemplates the future of inheritance and what heredity will mean in years to come. Even though I never did biology while at school, Zimmer manages to make this fairly substantial tome a straightforward book for readers like me. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
This took me a month to finish. That's a very long time compared to other books this size (500-600 p). It's not lacking in quality or anything, but it's very dense with information and once I put it down I never found myself excited to pick it back up again.

It takes the topic of heredity and dissects it through many lenses. Lenses like history, anatomy, economy, politics, racism, religion... so basically it's a giant web with all the important aspects of genes and their discovery as well as the latest CRISPR advancements.

I'm sure there are people who will find it fascinating, but I wasn't one of them. It's a good book and I got to learn a lot about the history of genetics. I just wish it would have done a better job making me excited about the things I was reading.

I think in time this book will become more important, proportionally to the upcoming debates that the world will have to have regarding CRISPR babies so I'm glad I read it. ( )
  parzivalTheVirtual | Mar 22, 2020 |
A thorough, and thoroughly interesting book on genetics and heredity. In this case, the book is as good as it's cover art (which is fantastic). ( )
  jasoncomely | Feb 8, 2019 |
This was a fascinating read about genetics and inheritance (not just biology) and the history of heredity. Well-written, it kept me turning the pages. The most fascinating chapters for me were on mosaics and chimeras. It was fascinating to read how some of us may be chimeras (the biological but rare reason reason why people can be born intersex) and not know it, being genetically comprised of our unborn twin or as a woman, taking on the genetics of an unborn child. Fascinating and scary to learn how mosaic cells (including cancer) can transfer from organism to organism in the case of Tasmanian Devils and dogs and even humans. ( )
  Jane-Phillips | Jun 27, 2018 |
Fascinating book on heredity that is blended with history and current events. There were some parts that were longer than I would like, however overall it was entertaining.
Below is a good review.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/strange-twists-and-turns-in-the-process-o... ( )
  GShuk | Jun 17, 2018 |
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Presents a history of the human understanding of heredity and how it has shaped society, chronicling the transitions brought about by genetic research and making predictions about how evolving understandings are likely to impact the future.

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