The Genome Odyssey: Medical Mysteries and the Incredible Quest to Solve Them

Euan Angus Ashley. Celadon, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-1-250-23499-5
Ashley, Professor of medicine and genetics at Stanford, debuts with a surprisingly moving take on the history and potential of genome squencing. He opens by musing on how wonderful it would be “if your doctor could actually peer into your genome and choose the medication and dose that was right for you.” Using stories of his patients “whose care has been transformed by knowledge of their genome,” and describing scientific teams he has led, Ashley breaks down the history of developments in medicine involving the genome, bringing it up to the present. Along the way, he explains DNA sequencing, basic genetics, and biochemistry. Stories of his patients bring the science to life, such as one about a baby born in 2014 whose heart stopped the day she was born; genome sequencing allowed the doctors to identify the cause of her condition and save her life. The concern he shows for his patients and the camaraderie he shares with his collaborators—among them coworker Stephen Quake, “the first patient in the world to walk into a doctor’s office for a checkup with his genome”—is touching. By providing insight into the people undertaking this critical work, Ashley has created a study that is at once personal and informative. Agent: Mary Evans, Mary Evans Inc. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/04/2020
Release date: 02/23/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Discover what to read next