Genes, Chance And Destiny: a profile of Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee
September 28, 2016
At 46, Siddhartha Mukherjee, is a man driven by questions, by puzzles in science and society. In 2011, his first book, a 600-page book on the history of cancer, The Emperor of All Maladies, won a Pulitzer Prize, among other accolades. Time magazine lists the book among the one hundred most influential books written since 1923.
His new and third book, The Gene, an Intimate History, published in 2016, sets out to tackle another crucial question that sits at the edge of science and society. This book is a finalist for the UK’s top award for nonfiction writing, the Baillie Gifford Prize, putting him in competition with a Nobel Laureate. More about both books below.
As technologies accelerate, so does what we know about the human genome – the complete code of DNA in our cells and bodies that orchestrates our destiny. Mukherjee knows that the prospect of understanding aspects of our genetic code is no longer ‘if’ but when and how. As that happens, he asks us to wonder, as he does himself, what will we do with these new-found powers? What does the future hold for the human genome – now that we are learning to “read” and “write” our own codes of instruction?