Review – The Compatibility Gene

The Compatibility Gene by Daniel DavisThe Compatibility Gene, Daniel M. Davis

I read this in a bit of a piecemeal fashion, due to holidays, so my impressions of it are probably a little more scattered than usual. It’s basically a book which combines immunology and genetics, and even some neurology, to discuss the way certain genes work in humans. Since that’s right up my street, I found this fascinating, although I found some chapters really slow going.

One thing I’m not 100% a fan of is the personal details about some of the scientists, because it’s not really relevant. Whether a female scientist prioritises children or her career doesn’t have any effect on the importance of her findings, and as a way of identifying motives for studying stuff, it’s pretty weak. Not everything has a personal connection.

The main thing I’m taking away from this book is that we still don’t know half there is to know about the immune system, about genetics, about our own bodies. If that doesn’t speak to the importance of such research, I don’t know what does.

Did you know that dogs have a sexually transmitted cancer? Not just an oncovirus like HPV, but a contagious cancer.

Rating: 3/5

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15 thoughts on “Review – The Compatibility Gene

  1. I did not know that about dogs!

    I’m looking for an up-to-date intro to genetics that includes modern epigenetics. Any ideas?

    • NOW YOU DO! Aren’t I helpful?

      Hmm, Nessa Carey’s new book might work — I haven’t read it yet, but I know it addresses myths about junk DNA, and she wrote a previous book on epigenetics, so she’s certainly up to date. But I can’t think of anything that explicitly draws it all together.

  2. I also find genetics fascinating. There is some genetic experiments in the urban fantasy I’m writing 🙂
    Yes you are helpful lol good info about dogs :):)

  3. Thanks. I did not say in this book that whether or not a female (or male) scientist prioritises children or their career effects the importance of their findings. The lives of scientists, however, is important in understanding how these discoveries were made. The overarching theme of this book is the importance and value of human diversity.

    • I noticed that you didn’t comment on the male scientists who chose not to marry/have children, and no one ever does. It’s only considered significant when a female scientist does it. That’s why it sticks out, to me.

      • Seems to me this form of sexism isn’t restricted to scientists but rather, applies to all famous/successful people. Why is it only noteworthy if a woman doesn’t have children? The fact is the planet needs fewer humans, so anybody who doesn’t breed should be praised for it, male or female…

      • Thanks. I was conscious of this issue in writing this book. I discussed families and home-life for both women and men in my book. It is not correct that this was only discussed for women. I interviewed many of the people involved to learn about their lives as well as their science.

        • Were you conscious that when men skip having a family to do science, no one is surprised and few mention it, certainly not in detail? I am not referring to discussing the scientists’ families, but to highlighting it if they chose not to have a family.

          I may be wrong and have misremembered that you talked about male scientists regretting they didn’t have kids in the same way, of course; my copy has gone back to the library, so if you did, I’d need at least one relevant quotation from the book to cite in my correction to my review.

    • As I’ve said, my point was referring specifically to the idea that a woman who does not have children is sacrificing something, but it doesn’t even get referenced if a man decides against having a family. Your intentions could be anything; your book still made me notice that trend.

      You are making me uncomfortable with your persistence. I am not attacking you, and I suggest you stop viewing my blog and my conversations with people.

      • This “all women must have children to live a fulfilled of complete life” attitude is surely kinda archaic by now? It’s almost as depressing as that dinosaur who said women in the lab are a distraction.

        • Apparently one of the women involved said that about her own career and being one of the first women in science, but the trend of talking about it like that bothers me. It’s not something that people discuss with male scientists!

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