*** The Violinist’s Thumb by Sam Kean

By the author of The Disappearing Spoon and with the same verve, The Violinist’s Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code tells the story of DNA discoveries, organized around memorable characters, be they scientist-nuns, Jefferson instructing Lewis and Clark to keep an eye out for mastodons (really!), freakish Paganini, he of the hyper-flexible thumb —  and assorted scientists’ fights and political intrigues. He has a great time with cute gene names (my favorite is “turnip” for one that creates stupid flies, but only because I already knew “sonic hedgehog” and crazed crossbreedings of (yes) humans and chimps. My disappointment in the book is that I seem to have promptly forgotten most of the real science in it. Perhaps I have the turnip gene after all…

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Filed under Non fiction

One response to “*** The Violinist’s Thumb by Sam Kean

  1. Pingback: * 1/2 Rock Creek Park by Simon Conway | FT's Books

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