She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity.
Booklist Reviews 2018 April #2
*Starred Review* When Gregor Mendel died, in 1884, his funeral drew thousands of grieving peasants—but not a single scientist. Zimmer here illuminates the Augustinian friar's once-unrecognized scientific breakthrough as a pivotal turning point in a human investigation of heredity, which has replaced Aristotle's speculative conjectures on the topic with the empirical knowledge compiled in the twenty-first-century chromosomal map of the human genome. That map and potent new microtechnologies for manipulating the biochemistry of the mapped genes have opened astonishing possibilities both for probing the distant past of human origins and for creating a brave new future of human development, free from genetic disease and weakness. But alongside this trajectory of stunning progress, readers trace a history of misconceptions about heredity. Some of those misconceptions—such as Darwin's mistaken pangenesis theory of all body cells influencing heredity—have arguably benefited science by stimulating debate and better research. Others, such as those motivating Nazi eugenicists, have augured only brutal racism. As revolutionary science now opens the prospect of designer superbabies—tantalizing some, horrifying others—Zimmer challenges the widespread misconception that DNA alone determines human identity, adducing compelling evidence that the way genes express themselves depends on environment, nutrition, and even culture. A wide-ranging and eye-opening inquiry into the way heredity shapes our species. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2018 April #1
Zimmer (creative writing, Yale Univ.;
PW Reviews 2018 February #3
In a magnificent work exploring virtually all aspects of heredity, journalist Zimmer (