The Best Books On DNA

The Books I Picked & Why

Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

By Matt Ridley

Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

Why this book?

This book comes from an era when the map of the human genome was yet to come but it is still a reference and a great read for its gripping narrative and scientific accuracy. Every chapter (one for each human chromosome) tells the story of a significant human gene. Although outdated by the incredible progress of genomics, I think Genome is a must-read and an inspiring account.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

By Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Why this book?

The story of Henrietta Lacks, an African American woman who died of cervical cancer in the 1950s and whose cells, named HeLa are still used in research, is both an epic family recount and a reflection on the evolution and dilemmas of Bioethics. Skloot’s gripping first-person narrative and solid journalistic style made this book a bestseller, and the subject of a movie. I loved the way it humanized science through the perspective and extraordinary stories of ordinary people.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome

By Alondra Nelson

The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome

Why this book?

The book explores the impact of home DNA testing for ancestry in the Afro-American community. One of the best and focused essays on the social consequences of DNA technology, rich with telling examples. 


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Selfish Gene

By Richard Dawkins

The Selfish Gene

Why this book?

An all-time classic in popular science, the reference for approaching evolution and (bonus point) the first book to introduce the term “meme”. The Selfish Gene comes from the late 1970s but has many hints to understand contemporary biology, epidemics, and even, well, memes.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic

By David Quammen

Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic

Why this book?

Sweat, dirty jobs, genetics, viruses, and outstanding journalism are the ingredients of  this wonderful, gripping book that anticipated the coronavirus pandemic. The starting point to understand where the recent pandemics came from, and where to expect the next ones.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Closely Related Book Lists

Random Book Lists