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Sixth & I

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Siddhartha Mukherjee

In Conversation with Judy Woodruff

May 19, 2016 • 7:00 pm ET
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The Gene: An Intimate History, Mukherjee’s follow-up to the bestselling, Pulitzer-winning The Emperor of All Maladies, is the story of the quest to decipher the master-code of instructions that makes and defines humans, that governs our form, function and fate, and determines the future of our children. The book interweaves science, social history, and the story of Mukherjee’s own family to explain the powerful science of genetics and to grapple with the extraordinary influence of heredity on our lives, personalities, identities, and choices.

Beginning in an obscure Augustinian abbey in Moravia in 1856, where a monk stumbled on the idea of a “unit of heredity” while working with pea plants, and intersecting with Darwin’s theory of evolution and the horrors of Nazi eugenics in the 1940’s, the gene ultimately transformed post-war biology, society and culture—and still sits at the epicenter of some of the most vital personal and political issues today.

In The Gene, Mukherjee—an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a cancer physician—enumerates the realms transformed by the understanding of the gene: race and identity, sexuality, gender identity, sexual preference, illness, temperament, even free will.

The Gene is a response to the defining question of the future: What becomes of being human when we learn to “read” and “write” our own genetic information? The book provides the definitive account of the fundamental unit of heredity—and a vision for both humanity’s past and future. Book signing to follow.