The history of heredity makes for a fascinating, and chilling, read | Science News


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The history of heredity makes for a fascinating, and chilling, read

‘She Has Her Mother’s Laugh’ chronicles how scientists have come to understand genetics

9:00am, May 29, 2018
a photo of a face with two different eye colors

LAWS OF INHERITANCE  Mosaics, individuals whose cells are not all genetically identical, are among the topics discussed in a new book about heredity. Mosaicism can cause a person to have two different colored eyes.

She Has Her Mother’s Laugh
Carl Zimmer
Dutton, $30

The Elephant Man, novelist Pearl S. Buck and Phoebus, god of the sun, all find their way into science writer Carl Zimmer’s latest book. In She Has Her Mother’s Laugh, Zimmer uses famous moments in history — and Greek mythology — to explain genetics and how researchers have come to understand heredity and try to manipulate it.

Zimmer walks through centuries of exploration, settling into stories of scientists who tried to use simplistic notions of heredity to improve the human race. While investigating inheritance, Francis Galton, who coined the term “eugenics,” noticed that notable men had notable

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