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The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee

About the book

Published by The Bodley Head

The story of the gene begins in an obscure Augustinian abbey in Moravia in 1856 where Gregor Mendel 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. This is an epic, moving history of a scientific idea coming to life. 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. 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.

Read the first chapter (PDF)

About the author

Siddhartha Mukherjee is a cancer physician and researcher, a stem cell biologist and a cancer geneticist. He is the author of The Laws of Medicine and The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, which won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction and the Guardian First Book Award. Mukherjee is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University. He has published work in Nature, Cell, Neuron, the New England Journal of Medicine, the New York Times and several other magazine and journals.