Study Guide

The Gene - Prologue: Families Summary & Analysis

Siddhartha Mukherjee
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Summary

In 2012, Siddhartha Mukherjee visits his cousin Moni in India. Moni is schizophrenic and lives in an institution. Two of Mukherjee's uncles, now deceased, have also suffered from mental illness, a reality that Mukherjee's father and grandmother have struggled to accept. Mukherjee's uncle Rajesh struggles with bipolar disorder, while his other uncle Jagu was also schizophrenic. The thread of mental illness in the family has played a role in Mukherjee's life since childhood with "heredity, illness, normalcy, family, and identity" becoming "recurrent themes of conversation" (7). Mukherjee wonders about genetic predispositions, the hereditary components of mental illness, and what may trigger those susceptibilities.

In addition to his family history, Mukherjee's work as a cancer biologist focuses his attention "on the normalcy and abnormalcy of genes" (8). He asks how normalcy versus abnormalcy is written in the genome and what may happen "if we learned to change...

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This section contains 611 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Gene Study Guide
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