Arches. Photo by Daniel Chia
Mar
04
2013

“Gene Hunter: The Story of Neuropsychologist Nancy Wexler” by Adele Glimm

Published: 2005

Length: 118 pages

Summary: Written specifically for youths, “Gene Hunter” takes a close look at the childhood experiences of Nancy Wexler and how it impacted her contribution towards the discovery of the Huntington’s disease gene. The book begins with HD basics, including genetics, symptoms, and research, and ties those basics in with Nancy Wexler’s personal experiences with HD in her family and in her work. It then goes on to give a simple, but full, narrative of Wexler’s life, including many anecdotes to characterize Wexler and her family. Finally, Glimm focuses on how Wexler’s genetic research and ability to motivate talented scientists led to the discovery of the gene for Huntington’s disease. The book ends with a discussion of potential therapies for HD and how Wexler is still contributing to the HD community today.

“Gene Hunter” is a good resource for introducing juveniles to Huntington’s disease and leaders in the scientific community working on HD. It asks ethical questions about genetic testing, research priorities, and appropriate care for HD patients and gives insights about the importance of finding a cure. Glimm uses Wexler as an example of what it means to be an inspirational woman in science who carries the risk of having HD like so many others.

CMB 03/04/2013