Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Sunday, July 27, 2014


Moalem, Sharon. Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives and Our Lives Change Our Genes. New York: Grand Central, 2014.

An interesting look at  medical genetics, written with the general public in mind. Many books on the subject are over the head of the average lay reader, but Moalem, a researcher and practicing doctor in the field of genetics, breaks it down so that most readers will understand. He doesn't cover a great deal of material, focusing on only one or two examples per chapter. He usually does not provide the SNP responsible for inherited conditions in his writing, although a person wanting to know more can likely find articles in library databases that will provide the information if they are willing to wade through scientific details. As a genealogist, I loved his recommendation at the end of chapter 6. He says, "One of the best gifts you can provide them [your siblings, children, and grandchildren] with is a thorough genealogical history, starting with what you know about the health of your own parents and moving on up and across the family tree as far as you can." (p. 122) He also cautions persons considering genetic testing to consider its implications for health and life insurance coverage. There is some great information in the book, but it does bog down a bit in places and probably focuses a bit too much on his own work in places although that it is what is most familiar to him.


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