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The Family Gene: A Mission to Turn My Deadly Inheritance into a Hopeful Future
4.09/5 by 229 users

The Family Gene: A Mission to Turn My Deadly Inheritance into a Hopeful Future


A riveting medical mystery about a young woman’s quest to uncover the truth about her likely fatal genetic disorder that opens a window onto the exploding field of genomic medicine

When Joselin Linder was in her twenties her legs suddenly started to swell. After years of misdiagnoses, doctors discovered a deadly blockage in her liver. Struggling to find  an explanation for her unusual condition, Joselin compared the medical chart of her father—who had died from a mysterious disease, ten years prior—with that of an uncle who had died under similarly strange circumstances. Delving further into the past, she discovered that her great-grandmother had displayed symptoms similar to hers before her death. Clearly, this was more than a fluke.

Setting out to build a more complete picture of the illness that haunted her family, Joselin approached Dr. Christine Seidman, the head of a group of world-class genetic researchers at Harvard Medical School, for help. Dr. Seidman had been working on her family’s case for twenty years and had finally confirmed that fourteen of Joselin’s relatives carried something called a private mutation—meaning that they were the first known people to experience the baffling symptoms of a brand new genetic mutation. Here, Joselin tells the story of their gene: the lives it claimed and the future of genomic medicine with the potential to save those that remain. 

Digging into family records and medical history, conducting interviews with relatives and friends, and reflecting on her own experiences with the Harvard doctor, Joselin pieces together the lineage of this deadly gene to write an exploration of family, history, and love.

Title:The Family Gene: A Mission to Turn My Deadly Inheritance into a Hopeful Future
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:272 pages
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    The Family Gene: A Mission to Turn My Deadly Inheritance into a Hopeful Future Reviews

  • Rebecca Foster
    Mar 12, 2017

    (3.5) My eye was drawn to The Family Gene because of the medical mystery aspect: 14 members of Linder’s Ashkenazi Jewish family are the only known exemplars of their particular genetic disease, so r...

  • Jessica
    Feb 26, 2017

    When Joselin Linder was a teenager in the late 80s, her father grew ill. His symptoms—primarily, that his body was swelling and his lungs were filling with fluid leaking out of his lymphatic system...

  • Marika
    Jan 02, 2017

    A compelling medical mystery that involves a faulty gene that is inherited. The author's legs began to swell when she was in her early 20's and the medical profession was stumped as to the cause. So b...

  • Caidyn (BW Book Reviews)
    May 10, 2017

    This review and others can be found on BW Book Reviews.This book took me a long time to listen to because it was interrupted by my finals. No work means no listening to books. Even though it was good,...

  • Jessica Mannion
    Apr 08, 2017

    Joselin Linder's “The Family Gene” is the incredibly moving story of one woman's quest to understand the deadly genetic disease that has plagued her family for several generations. But, in spite o...

  • Esther Bradley-detally
    Apr 27, 2017

    My last two review disappeared into the ether; this is an excellent book; fraught with horror, courage, tension, maturity, bravery, and deals with current issues. Genetic diseases are cropping up with...

  • Phil
    May 28, 2017

    I was pulling into the parking lot of the supermarket where I shop, listening to NPR. The interview with Ms. Linder that was so fascinating, so interesting, I sat in the parking lot until the intervie...

  • Janis Mills
    Apr 18, 2017

    It takes a certain amount of courage to know how you are going to die according to my belief. The author wrote of her gene pool and the effort and heartache to track down the disease taking family mem...

  • Cynthia
    Mar 07, 2017

    Very interesting and well written! I love medical-mystery nonfiction!...

  • Serena
    May 28, 2017

    In The Family Gene author Joselin Linder, holder of said gene, writes about the experience of discovering her family was passing a variant and ultimately fatal gene through their family tree. After re...