The Wandering Gene and the Indian Princess:


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Race, Religion, and DNA, Book Signing

In 1999, Shonnie Medina, a vivacious young Hispano woman (a member of a New Mexican ethnic group descended from Native Americans and Spanish colonials) died of breast cancer. The cancer that killed Medina was caused by a genetic mutation. What is surprising about Medina's case is that it is a genetic mutation characteristic to Jews: this potentially fatal genetic variation has been passed from generation to generation of Jews. In his new book, "THE WANDERING GENE AND THE INDIAN PRINCESS: Race, Religion, and DNA", science writer Wheelwright untangles a Gordian knot of race, history, ethics, faith, and science to solve the mystery of how an ancient genetic marker of the Jewish people ended up taking the life of a modern, Hispano, Jehovah's Witness living in a small town in the San Luis Valley.Wheelwright also illuminates the history of the San Luis Valley.

Wheelwright, a graduate of Yale University and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, was awarded a J. S. Guggenheim Fellowship in 2009. He is a science writer and editor and has been published in Discover and Smithsonian magazines. He lives in Morro Bay, California. The book is available at the Narrow Gauge Bookstore in downtown Alamosa, Colo.

Wheelwright will be at ASC Community Partnerships from 5 p.m. until 6 p.m., Monday, Jan. 30, for a book signing and discussion. For questions, please call 719-587-8227 or 719-587-7372.

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