Summary & Study Guide - The Gene by Lee Tang

An Intimate History

The must-read summary of “The Gene: An Intimate History” by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

Summary & study guide - the gene

Why Does Genetics Matter to You?

This book is a summary of “The Gene: An Intimate History,” by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

This complete summary of Siddhartha Mukherjee’s book chronicles the fascinating history of discovery in classical genetics, molecular genetics, genetic engineering, and the human genome project. It shows: 

Genetics is at the frontiers of science today, and its impact is often misunderstood. The public is often misled by science fictions and remains largely in the dark as to the actual consequences of advances in the biotechnology and genetic engineering industries. Studying genetics can help you understand the economic, social, and ethical implications of these technologies.

Read this summary to understand the key concepts of genetics and the economic, social, and ethical implications of genetic engineering technologies.

This guide includes:

Value-added of this guide:

Genre: STUDY AIDS / Study Guides

Secondary Genre: SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Genetics & Genomics

Language: English

Keywords: concepts of genetics, essential genetics, understanding DNA, heredity, genetic evolution, double helix, genetic engineering, biotechnology

Word Count: 15,000

Sample text:

Since the earliest times, human has recognized the influence of heredity and has applied its principles to improve crops and domestic animals. In around 530 BC, Pythagoras, the Greek scholar, proposed one of the earliest and widely accepted theories to explain the similarity between parents and their children. The core of his theory was that male semen carried all the hereditary information and the mother only provided nourishment.

A century after Pythagoras's death, Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, rejected the notion that heredity was carried solely in male semen. In around 350 BC, he proposed that male semen carried the instructions to build a child while female contributed the physical material for the fetus. The transmission of heredity was essentially the transmission of information. Aristotle was wrong in his partitioning of male and female contributions into "message" and "material," but he had captured one of the essential truths about heredity.

No new ideas were introduced in the next two millennia until the 18th century.

In 1809, a French biologist named Jean-Baptiste Lamarck introduced "the inheritance of acquired characters" as a model for evolution. According to Lamarck, organisms evolve due to two forces: (1) Simple organisms emerge spontaneously and then evolve to become more complex; and (2) Organisms adapt to their environments by changing their characteristics by use and disuse. He believed giraffes developed long necks because, over many generations, they had to keep stretching their necks to reach higher foliage. 


Book translation status:

The book is available for translation into any language except those listed below:

Already translated. Translated by Federica Melchior
Already translated. Translated by Ariane Zabaleta
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