Genetics professor Michelle Murphy loses her husband under mysterious circumstances and without warning, while their brilliant eight-year-old daughter Avalon, adopted in Kazakhstan, stubbornly believes she is a mutant.
As if this were not enough she soon finds herself thrown into the middle of a quickly thickening plot, where the legacy of Genghis Khan meets the hunt for FOXP5, a genetic transcription factor that could herald the dawn of new human species.
Initially caught helplessly between well-meaning fellow scientists, the government, and more sinister agents, Michelle, with the help of a host of unlikely heroes, eventually takes control and finds the courage to confront the decision of whether to save human lives or humanity.
The scientific and technical aspects underlying the plot—in particular aspects of FOX proteins, genetic mutations, viruses, and cancer, as well as the relation between intelligence and cortical complexity—are introduced and discussed by the authors in an extensive nontechnical appendix.
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“This title by Wallace Kaufman and David Deamer, I would say, is the best I’ve ever read…[I] enjoyed the adventure, which hovered between adult and young adult in apparent audience level, and felt I was really gaining something from the science content.”
Popular Science author Brian Clegg