SCIENCES

The Family Gene: A Mission To Turn My Deadly Inheritance into a Hopeful Future

Ecco: HarperCollins. Mar. 2017. 272p. bibliog. ISBN 9780062378897. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062378927. SCI
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Five of Linder's (The Gamification Revolution) adult relatives died from a horrendous, medically baffling disease. Her family members have worked with researcher Christine Seidman of Harvard Medical School to find its cause—a unique genetic variant, inherited from either the author's great- or great-great-grandmother. Even while knowing that this genomic legacy puts her (and any child she might conceive) at risk for a grisly death, the author views her future with measured optimism. She hopes that with contraception and reproductive technology, her generation can prevent any further transmission of the deadly gene. Copious amounts of body fluids pervade the accounts of sickness and futile attempts at treatment; this is not a book for the squeamish. And the author chooses to minimize discussion of the ethical aspects of genetic disease (e.g., whether to opt for abortion in cases of known genetic defects).
VERDICT Even though Linder's narrative is sometimes disjointed, genealogists and readers interested in popular medicine may find this book more relatable than Alice Wexler's Mapping Fate.
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