The DNA Mystique

The Gene as a Cultural Icon
Dorothy Nelkin and M. Susan Lindee
Explores the values, assumptions, and consequences of the circulation of DNA in popular culture


The DNA Mystique suggests that the gene in popular culture draws on scientific ideas but is not constrained by the technical definition of the gene as a section of DNA that codes for a protein. In highlighting DNA as it appears in soap operas, comic books, advertising, and other expressions of mass culture, the authors propose that these domains provide critical insights into science itself. With a new introduction and conclusion, this new edition will continue to be an engaging, accessible, and provocative text for the sociology, anthropology, and bioethics classroom, as well as stimulating reading for those generally interested in science and culture.

Dorothy Nelkin, University Professor at New York University, passed away in the spring of 2003.

M. Susan Lindee is Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Praise / Awards

  • "Wonderfully subversive."
    American Journal of Physical Anthropology
  • "The DNA Mystique is a wake-up call to all who would dismiss America's love affair with "the gene" as a merely eccentric obsession."
    In These Times
  • "An important, timely commentary on the manipulation of scientific inquiry in the interest of political ideology."
    Kirkus Reviews
  • "Nelkin and Lindee are to be warmly congratulated for opening up this intriguing field [of genetics in popular culture] to further study."
  • "This book represents an impressive feat of data collection, drawing as it does on a vast range of sources, including newspapers, legal cases, comics, novels, films, soap operas, the Internet and women's magazines. It certainly provides for an enjoyable reading, with its extensive and often humorous examples."
    —Rachel Casiday, Journal of Biosocial Science

Look Inside

Copyright © 2004, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.125.
  • 312pp.
  • 13 drawings.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2004
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-03004-0

Add to Cart
  • $28.95 U.S.

Related Products