Untangling the Danger in My DNA
On Sale: April 27, 2010
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When Bonnie J. Rough receives the test results that confirm
she is a carrier of the genetic condition hypohidrotic
ectodermal dysplasia, or H.E.D., it propels her on a
journey deep into her familyâ€™s past in the American West.
At first glance, H.E.D. seems only to be a superficial
condition: a peculiar facial bone structure, sparse hair,
few teeth, and an inability to sweat. But a closer look
reveals the source of a lifetime of infections, breathing
problems, and drug dependency for Bonnieâ€™s grandfather
Earl, who suffered from the disorder. After a boyhood as a
small-town oddity and an adulthood fraught with disaster,
Earl died penniless and alone at the age of 49. Bonnieâ€™s
mother was left with an inheritance that included not just
the gene for H.E.D., but also the emotional pain that came
from witnessing her fatherâ€™s misery.
As Bonnie and her husband consider becoming parents
themselves, their biological legacy haunts every decision.
The availability of genetic testing gives them new choices
to make, choices more excruciating than any previous
generation could have imagined. Ultimately, Carrier is a
story of a modern moral crisis, one that reveals the
eternal tension between past and future.
Weekend Edition Sunday - May 23, 2010
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