She Has Her Mother's Laugh by Carl Zimmer

She Has Her Mother's Laugh

Carl Zimmer presents a history of our understanding of heredity in this sweeping, resonating overview of a force that shaped human society--a force set to shape our future even more radically.She Has Her Mother's Laugh presents a profoundly original perspective on what we pass along from generation to generation. Charles Darwin played a crucial part in turning heredity into a scientific question, and yet he failed spectacularly to answer it. The ...

Details She Has Her Mother's Laugh

TitleShe Has Her Mother's Laugh
Release DateMay 29th, 2018
GenreScience, Nonfiction, Biology, History, Genetics, Evolution

Reviews She Has Her Mother's Laugh

  • Petra Eggs
    I learned a lot about the history of genetics, starting from single-celled creatures emerging from the primordial ooze, through the entire science of it beyond present day knowledge, into a conjectured future. Together with genetics the author writes about cultural heredity without which we all be reinventing the wheel, just as certain apes have to learn in every generation how to use a stone to crack a nut and never develop further. Zimmer also ...
  • Paul
    Yes, it's long – about 540 or so actual pages of text, followed by a glossary, bibliography and endnotes – but She Has Her Mother's Laugh does not waste a single page. Carl Zimmer has produced a masterpiece of science writing, distilling incredibly complex concepts into understandable and relatable language by using narrative journalism and personal anecdotes to perfect effect. Any questions you've had about DNA, genes, inheritance, and the m...
  • Kathleen
    Zimmer provides an accessible compilation of the history and current scientific research regarding heredity. Fortunately, he uses individual examples to help illustrate and explain the basic theories. Yea! There are a lot of fascinating facts to absorb!First of all, paleogenetics has used the DNA extracted from ancient skeletons to reveal that we are all ‘mutts’, and that racial purity is a myth. Further, our genome is comprised of DNA in our...
  • Atila Iamarino
    Se tem um autor que sempre vou fazer questão de ler o que lançar é o Carl Zimmer. Foi de longe uma das maiores motivações para eu começar a blogar e escrever sobre ciência. E é um dos jornalistas com o conhecimento de biologia mais amplo que leio, que sabe integrar áreas da biologia como muitos pesquisadores envolvidos nas descobertas que descreve não sabem.Este livro não é excessão exceção. Nos últimos 10-15 anos, o sequenciament...
  • David
    This is a wonderful book about heredity. It is such a comprehensive treatment of the subject. The hardcover version of the book is 672 pages long, about 575 pages of text followed by references and an index. So, this is not a book to be read in a couple of days. But don't let the length keep you from reading the book. It is terrific--filled with stories and anecdotes that are all quite engaging. This is a very engaging book!It wasn't until the la...
  • Olive (abookolive)
    Check out my review on booktube:
  • Caitlin
    A truly mammoth book that should have been edited down to a few hundred pages. The interesting tidbits and stories were immersed in unnecessary prose and benign chapters that served no purpose except to increase the word count. Some stories SHINED and AMAZED (especially the chapter on Chimera, which was utterly fascinating), but it’s a shame the reader has to wade through all of the weeds to discover the gems.
  • Pam Mooney
    An amazing and well researched book. Takes us through the history and research of heredity from first works to today. It was so interesting to know where we started and how little we knew about heredity not that long ago. Some scientific researchers got it right and others drew wrong conclusions which may be forgivable for the time period but caused so much harm. There were certainly many ethical dilemmas that came in strong. Although it includes...
  • Gary Beauregard Bottomley
    Heredity is the sum of all the previous environments and the current environment we were thrown into. Who we are as a species and as individuals is far more complicated than just our genes. Mendel’s law is a suggestion more than a law. This book lays the ground work for each of those assertions and steps the listener through some of the history of our understanding of the subject and reviews some of the current new research that has been transp...
  • Navi
    An absolutely fascinating read about heredity! It is jam packed with information about the history of genetics and modern scientific advances in the field. The writing style is magnetic and accessible!I listened to this on audio as it was available on Scribd. I cannot wait to buy the ebook to re-visit the text and make notes. Highly recommend to anyone interested in narrative science writing!
  • Paul
    When people meet my children I often hear comments along the lines of; he is just like you, your daughter reminds me so much of your wife and similar comments. And it is true, their genetic inheritance comes directly from me and my wife and the blend of our genes has made three very different and unique children. What gets passed on and how is the subject of this weighty tome.In this very researched book, Zimmer takes us back through our genetic ...
  • Catherine Davison
    This science writing pulls the reader deeper and deeper into the amazing world we live in, it never gets dull or dry even when describing meiosis. Zimmer weaves historical and contemporary scientific research to create a work which you want to engage with. Who’d have thought that Mendel’s messing around with peas would lead eventually to the horrors of Hitler’s eugenics programs? Who knew that the sloppy research which lead to the published...
  • Aaron Arnold
    The most important decision you can make in your life is who to have children with. This is understood more or less unconsciously by practically everyone, but the true nature of heredity - precisely what traits we inherit from our parents, and how we bequeath them in turn to our own children - is far more complex and subtle than we give it credit for. Zimmer traces our conception of heredity from one kind of ignorance to another, from our histori...
  • Camelia Rose
    She has Her Mother's Laugh is the second book on similar topics I've read recently. The other book is The Gene: An Intimate History. There is some overlap, such as history of genetics from Aristotle to Darwin, Lamarck and Mendel, and Eugenics movement that had lead to The Holocaust, but enough difference makes it worth to read both books. I hope I have learned a lot about the history, single-gene diseases (Huntington's disease, PKU), the concept ...
  • Mehrsa
    If you haven't been following or reading any news on genetics research, then this is an excellent primer, but if you do follow the science pages, there isn't much that is new in here. It's all interesting, but it's written by a reporter on science so none of it is firsthand research and the book isn't coherent enough to be memorable
  • Dramatika
    What a brilliant earth shuttering book! The staff good science fiction is made of except happening IRL now as we live. So many amazing new ideas and facts, I was forced to stop reading and just contemplate and share with friends and family what I read. I'm not very good at science, although love reading pop science books and magazines, yet this book was quite accessible even to someone with barely passable grade in biology class. I would love to ...
  • Charlene
    Fascinating science book with enough personal histories to keep it all interesting, although I admit those last few chapters on gene splicing & CRISPR got beyond me. I learned a lot . . . didn't realize that hereditary was so variable (we don't get exactly 50% of our genes from each parent, within a few generations we may no longer carry DNA from a particular ancestor, inheritance is a matter of luck . . .). I also had never heard of "mosaics" an...
  • Polo Lonergan
    Parts of this book are interesting. Parts are excrutiatingly dry. It felt like it took me forever to slog through the ending.
  • Isil Arican
    One the best book I read this year, and definitely one of the best science books I read, ever.Carl Zimmer is an amazing science writer. Besides having a very fluid and engaging narrative style, he is also a great researcher and is able to simplify concepts without diluting them and present to the reader in a comprehensive, engaging way.The book tells many stories over the last two century about genetics: how various prominent historical science f...
  • Liz
    This book achieves what I would previously have described as impossible: it makes genetics, molecular biology, and other aspects of heredity interesting and (almost) accessible to the layperson. Zimmer masterfully guides us through the history of heredity research, its cultural context, and its ramifications for large groups of people. Despite having two degrees in biology, some of the information was new to me, and at one point I was so shocked ...
  • Danielle Wells
    this was an incredibly informative 600ish page book with everything you would ever want to know about genetics and heredity. Some parts were difficult for me to follow and bogged my reading down...but that's not reflective of the author but of my understanding. Some chapters seemed like I was reading a history book while the author was explaining the history of specific scientific ideas and advancements made over the last 200 years. Other chapter...
  • Robynne
    This book caught my eye when I saw it on a "best of 2018" book list. I was initially interested because I thought it would address some of (what I see as) the nonsense surrounding the market in DNA testing that has exploded over the past couple of years. Obviously North Americans have a lot of disposable income to invest in discovering the percentages of their "ancestry," as if this has some meaningful impact on their own identity. Zimmer's book ...
  • Ernst Hafen
    A fascinating journey through the multi-facetted biological basis, historical and societal impact of heredity; from Aristotle to plant and animal breeders in the 18th and 19th century to Darwin, Mendel, eugenics, pre-implantation diagnostics and CRISPR/Cas. Carl Zimmer tells the story not in a chronological way but in different vignettes of researchers that are careful, struggle with or are too confident about their discoveries. The book reads or...
  • Isaac Larkin
    Beautifully written, tackles important and fascinating areas of heredity. I was surprised to learn that if you go back just a few generations, your odds of sharing *any* DNA with any particular ancestor drops to almost 0 (and if you go back just a few thousand years, then every human being alive then is either every living person's direct ancestor, or no one's. Zimmer also does a good job of tackling the ways in which the study of inheritance has...
  • Yaaresse
    4.5, rounding up. This is the most interesting book I've read this year. Zimmer provides a basic history of genetics, the theories and research, that sets the groundwork for discussing the biotech advances of recent years and all the accompanying ethical and legal challenges. He has a way of explaining complex scientific processes in plain English without being condescending and of adding interest with anecdotes without making it all about himsel...
  • Nancy
    Carl Zimmer covers a lot of territory in this book. He starts with some history of the royal families of Europe and the genetic problems they developed over centuries of marrying their relatives. He ends with example of what is being done with CRISPR technology. In between he cover a lot of topics, often bringing home how it matters to each of us on a personal level by sharing information on his own genetic sequence. I had heard of CRISPR before ...
  • Lada
    This book, while good, was rather disconcerting. First it was the way it would quote proponents of eugenics without much additional commentary. By the end it was the reality of CRISPR (plus gene drives) among other recent developments, that had me worried. In a way it was a rather slow build up to a pretty crazy present. Had lots of interesting info and ok writing. A bit too much about researchers' personalities & lives, and where this book overl...
  • Ross
    This should be required reading for anyone who uses one of those 23 and Me or AncestryDNA gene sequencing companies. The author does a nice job explaining the limitations of such knowledge - in part by exploring non-Mendelian inheritance (such as epigenetics as well as cultural and ecological inheritance).
  • Dlmrose
  • Sarah
    A great popular science read for anyone interested in why we are the way we are.