In 1951, doctors took a small tissue sample from a black woman named Henrietta Lacks without her knowledge or consent.
A scientist put that sample into a test tube, and though Henrietta died a few months later, her cells - known worldwide as HeLa - are still alive today.
They became the first immortal human cell line ever grown in culture and were used to develop the polio vaccine.
Research on HeLa helped lead to in vitro fertilization, cloning, stem cell research and gene mapping.
Skloot tells the story of those amazing cells, the woman they came from, and the collision between science and her family.
About the Author
Rebecca Skloot is an award-winning science writer whose articles have appeared in the New York Times Magazine; O, The Oprah Magazine; Discover; Columbia Journalism Review; and elsewhere. She has also worked as a correspondent for National Public Radio and PBS.