Headline March 22, 2017/ ''' *MARVELS* & MYSTERIES : LIFE-DNA '''




Many thanks to  Sidhdhartha Mukherjee, for  *your mastery* in story telling. So, with most respectful dedication to:

His Excellency Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India : !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless and for every subject and discipline in Lord's Universe, wishes you, Sir,  and people of India, very well.

Hope to see you,Sir and family, on !WOW!  -the World Students Society and !E-WOW!  -the Twitter Ecosystem: 2011.

Student Vishnu/ Founder and Samurai !WOW!,  to make sure that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is informed.  

Worth many a repeat, that The context of these questions is sometimes horrifying to be sure, with historical flashbacks to not just the well-known ''racial hygiene''  movement of the Nazis, but also the 1920s-

When the  Supreme Court  of the  United States approved the sterlisation of individuals in an effort to eradicate hereditary mental illnesses.

This is not just the  shock value; it's quiet disconcerting to realise that the word  ''engenics''  started life as an earnest descriptor of efforts to better the quality of life for human beings.

And while  Mukherjee    does not shy away   describing these [at best] misguided  efforts, neither does he harp on about them  ad infinitum, preferring instead-

To link the evolution  [pun intended]  of genomic science to the larger issue of understanding what is that makes us who we are.

In an attempt to build this link,  The Gene  races through a dizzying array of historical attitudes; It attempts to understand how we get from pea plants of various heights, to a point in time when-

For a few hundred dollars, you can get your genome [and its consequent attention indications of physical or mental landmines]  mapped in its entirety.

The road map of scientific progress is presented as a bit of fait accompli  -
Mukherjee seems to make the argument that it's almost inevitable for research to lead to progress, a bit like  Lego  building  blocks  stacking-

One upon the other to create an artifact of knowledge. 

This is a seductive premise, and despite the fact that Mukherjee tends to be disproportionate in his devotions- [e.g the fairly stunning fact that we homo sapiens co-existed with-

And could interbreed with, Neanderthals merits about a paragraph], it is one that makes for a good read.

But let's park the question of historical importance to ratio of page space, because despite some glossing over [which is almost impossible to avoid given the scale of this book]- 

What Mukherjee does best is frame  ''real''  stories in the context of their ''real'' implications.

He makes a point to link the discoveries of major conditions, with actual ethical dilemmas and concerns   - much how he did in  The Emperor of all Maladies   -attempting to make his tale in intensely personal read rather than a dry academic treatise.

While this is a powerful narrative tale that he has used to great effect in the past, here Mukherjee struggles with the application of this approach, at least when it comes to his own family.

They merit   occasional mentions   -powerful ones to be sure,  -but these are sporadic and feel more like a poorly used plot device, a break from all the science stuff, if you will.

It's a shame, because this collation of the personal with the abstract is really what Mukherjee does best, and it would have gone a long way towards making this book slightly less abstruse.

The only real problem   -and it's a stretch to even call it a problem   -with The Gene is that it is dense.

The sheer amount of  background and context, of the science and of explaining said science, can make this enormously difficult to read. It's not surprising though    -just think about how mind-boggling it is that in the-

Last four decades we have not only identified the building block of life, we have manged to figure out what it is made of, where in the human cell it can be found and how it can be edited.

Compressing the entire  centuries long  creation myth into the book is not an easy task,  but it would be sycophantic  and untrue to pretend that Mukherjee has written something that is easily accessible.

This is, I suspect, also slightly unfair outcome of having set such a high bar for  well-written  non-fiction in his last work.

Still, to be a victim of one's  own success is certainly not the worst fate in the world.

Our  DNA  influences not just what we are, but who we may well become; conversely the comprehension comes as a matched-pair only with an equal level of fundamental cluelessness:

As Aristotle said   :  *The more you know, the more you know you don't know*.''

Gene as Mukherjee   points out,  are incapable of telling us
''how to comprehend human diversity.''

Although  The Gene  is,  despite its best effort, unable to so do either, it would be mistake to confuse a lack of answers with a lack of insight and erudition.   

For Student Umar Khan on his marriage: Every wish and blessing from !WOW!.  the World Students Society. And then from his soul-mates with every prayer-  

These rising business stars : Student & Billionaire  Faraz Latif and Student and Billionaire  Ali Hassan/ Business Major/US. Thanks lads,  for your invincible support for World Students.  

With respectful dedication to the Leaders, Students, Professors and Teachers of India. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society and Twitter -!E-WOW!  -the Ecosystem 2011

''' !WOW! & STUDENTS '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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