The Song of the Cell review: A love letter to life’s most basic unit

From the pioneering days of IVF to modern gene editing, Siddhartha Mukherjee’s ambitious book explores how far we have come in understanding the cell – and how far we still have to go

Humans 9 November 2022

T581Y7 In vitro fertilisation, IVF macro concept

In less than 50 years, the IVF process has gone from pioneering to commonplace

Nevodka/Alamy

The Song of the Cell

Siddhartha Mukherjee (Bodley Head)

ON 25 July 1978, Louise Joy Brown was born at Oldham General Hospital in the UK. The first child to be born following IVF, she was called a miracle baby by some, a test-tube baby by others, and a representation of the “degeneration of Western morals” by at least one.

A hundred years earlier, Walther Flemming, a German scientist, coined the term chromatin, meaning coloured substance, while he …

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