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The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

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As reviewed by Toni Whitmont in the March 2010 Booktopia Buzz. Click here to see all of Booktopia's Newsletters.

In-vitro fertilisation, gene mapping, cancer research, vaccinations - so many medical milestones have been made possible because of the particular properties of the cells taken from Henrietta Lacks, a poor, disenfranchised Afro American woman who had no idea (and no compensation) that her DNA was completely unique.

This is a stunner of a story showcasing great research and terrific writing.

Reviewed by Toni Whitmont, Booktopia Buzz Editor - March 2010

Product Description

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.


Fascinating. Couldn't put it down.


Not only do we learn about Henrietta and her cells, how they've helped medical science but also her family and medical science since the 1950's and experimentation and changes in morals. Written in an easy to read manner but also changes from first person to research.



The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

5.0 1


ISBN: 9780330426237
ISBN-10: 0330426230
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 379
Published: 1st March 2010
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.5  x 2.9
Weight (kg): 0.58
Edition Number: 1