DNA Is Not Destiny

DNA Is Not Destiny

The Remarkable, Completely Misunderstood Relationship Between You and your Genes

Book - 2017
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One of the world's leading cultural psychologists debunks the hype surrounding DNA testing and puts to rest our mistaken anxieties about our genes.

Do you fear what might be lurking in your DNA?

Well, now you can find out, and you most likely will. Scientists expect one billion people to have their genomes sequenced by 2025, and as the price drops it may even become a standard medical procedure. Yet cultural psychologist Steven Heine argues that the first thing we'll do upon receiving our DNA test results is to misinterpret them completely. We've become accustomed to breathless media coverage about newly discovered "cancer" or "IQ" or "infidelity" genes, each one promising a deeper understanding of what makes us tick. But as Heine shows, most of these claims are oversimplified and overhyped misinterpretations of how our DNA really works. With few exceptions, it is a complex combination of experience, environment, and genetics that determines who we are, how we behave, and what diseases will afflict us in the future.

So why do we continue to buy into the belief that our genes control our destiny? Heine argues that we are psychologically ill equipped to deal with DNA results, repeatedly falling into predictable biases--switch-thinking, essentialism, fatalism, negativity dominance, and more--that mold our thinking about the information we receive. Heine shares his research--and his own genome-sequencing results--to not only to set the record straight regarding what your genes actually reveal about your health, intelligence, ethnic identity, and family, but to also help you counteract these insidious cognitive traps. His fresh, surprising conclusions about the promise, and limits, of genetic engineering and DNA testing upend conventional thinking and reveal a simple, profound truth: your genes create life--but they do not control it.

Publisher: New York :, W.W. Norton & Company,, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780393244083
Branch Call Number: 572.86 Hei
Characteristics: 344 pages


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May 16, 2018

A comprehensive look at the issues of DNA and how these tests are interpreted by people. The narrative is easy to read and the book is well annotated. The author does a good job of making his thesis. Worth reading if you are interested. Recommended if you have had a DNA test or are planning to do so.

Feb 06, 2018

The author's personal testing of various commercial DNA tests (for genealogy and for disease markers) effectively debunk the results and attendant hype. Some of the examples given of popular misapprehensions seem implausible, but in general work is clear and fairly presented.

Jul 07, 2017

This book is a very good read. As Amazon has already commented, it will debunk a lot of the mystery of the medical part of DNA testing. It is straight-forward writing and pertinent to the subject. This sort of book is sorely needed as DNA testing continues to evolve.

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