Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives — and Our Lives Change Our Genes by Sharon Moalem, MD, PhD with Matthew D. LaPlante
(Grand Central Publishing, 2014, 272 pages)
I picked up this book from our new book shelf a while back. I’m glad I finally got around to it. Author Sharon Moalem is an accomplished scientist and physician. He does an excellent job in providing an overview of the field of genetics. He achieves with this book precisely what the subtitle describes: How our genes change our lives and our lives change our genes.
The book consists of 11 chapters, an extensive bibliography/notes and a well-prepared index. I find myself frequently using these tools. Moalem uses real people and stories to present genetic disorders and explains science. He describes how genetic research is helping him to diagnose and treat his patients. The coverage on epigenetics reminds me of another book I read: Epigenetics: the ultimate mystery of inheritance. Moalem’s book discusses epigenetics and its implications from a medical point of view which is beneficial to readers with medical interests. I had to laugh at his story of climbing Mount Fuji with the help of an elderly Japanese lady. That was the first time the author experienced hypobaric hypoxia, a lack of oxygen due to a decrease in atmospheric pressure. It turned out that the author’s genes are more susceptible than most people’s genes to altitude sickness. Ever wonder how food turns our genes on and off? How DNA is involved in making and breaking our bones? Detailed discussions can be found in chapters Feed Your Genes and Use It or Lose It. The book is not bogged down in a lot of scientific detail. It’s informative and entertaining. I highly recommend it.