The Gene Machine

  • From the Publisher
May 16, 2017

A blend of sci­ence and sto­ry, The Gene Machine is a sharp-eyed explo­ration of the promise and per­il of hav­ing chil­dren in an age of genet­ic tests and inter­ven­tions. Told through the sto­ries of par­ents and chil­dren, physi­cians and sci­en­tists, the entire book is of inter­est to a wide range of peo­ple inter­est­ed in how sci­ence is chang­ing repro­duc­tion. Two chap­ters in par­tic­u­lar are of spe­cif­ic inter­est to the Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty: one traces the his­to­ry of car­ri­er screen­ing and spins the dra­mat­ic nar­ra­tive of the fam­i­ly and physi­cian, both Jew­ish, who inspired the test for Tay-Sachs dis­ease. It also high­lights the sin­gu­lar mis­sion of a rab­bi who refus­es to mar­ry Jew­ish cou­ples until they have had genet­ic test­ing. The oth­er chap­ter tells the sto­ry of the first woman in the U.S. to con­ceive a child using preim­plan­ta­tion genet­ic diag­no­sis to avoid pass­ing on her BRCA gene muta­tion, which rais­es the risk of breast can­cer and is more com­mon among Ashke­nazi Jews.

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