Credit: Mia Spear An inheritable cancer-causing gene is at the hub of distinguished science writer Jeff Wheelwright's many-spoked history of race, religion, persecution, medicine, and one grieving Hispano (Spanish and Indian) family. He investigates the question of why a gene that is considered a reliable marker of Jewish descent turns up in Hispano communities of the Southwest. Wheelwright maps the mutation’s itinerary from the Babylonian captivity in the sixth century B.C., when geneticists believe it first appeared, through its multi-faceted voyage through cultures, geographies and time.
Location: Street: 411 N 4th Ave City: Tucson, Province: Arizona Postal Code: 85705-8444 Country: United States (added from IndieBound)… (more)
Presentation & Booksigning with Jeff Wheelwright: The Wandering Gene and the Indian Princess
A brilliant and emotionally resonant exploration of science and family history. A vibrant young Hispano woman, Shonnie Medina, inherits a breast-cancer mutation known as BRCA1.185delAG. It is a genetic variant characteristic of Jews. The Medinas knew they were descended from Native Americans and Spanish Catholics, but they did not know that they had Jewish ancestry as well. The mutation most likely sprang from Sephardic Jews hounded by the Spanish Inquisition. The discovery of the gene leads to a fascinating investigation of cultural history and modern genetics by Dr. Harry Ostrer and other experts on the DNA of Jewish populations. Set in the isolated San Luis Valley of Colorado, this beautiful and harrowing book tells of the Medina family's five-hundred-year passage from medieval Spain to the American Southwest and of their surprising conversion from Catholicism to the Jehovah's Witnesses in the 1980s. Rejecting conventional therapies in her struggle against cancer, Shonnie Medina died in 1999. Her life embodies a story that could change the way we think about race and faith. (jpmoore)… (more)