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The DNA of You and Me
Cover of The DNA of You and Me
The DNA of You and Me
A Novel
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A smart debut novel—a wonderfully engaging infusion of Lab Girl, The Assistants, and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine—that pits the ambition of scientific discovery against the siren call of love.

How does smell work? Specifically, how do olfactory sensory neurons project to their targets in the olfactory bulb, where smell is processed? Justin McKinnon has hired fresh-faced graduate student Emily to study that question. What Justin hasn't told Emily is that two other scientists in the lab, Aeden and Allegra, are working on a very similar topic, and their findings may compete with her research.

Emily was born focused and driven. She's always been more comfortable staring down the barrel of a microscope than making small talk with strangers. Competition doesn't scare her. Her special place is the lab, where she analyzes DNA sequences, looking for new genes that might be involved in guiding olfactory neurons to their targets.

To Emily's great surprise, her rational mind is unsettled by Aeden. As they shift from competitors to colleagues, and then to something more, Emily allows herself to see a future in which she doesn't end up alone. But when Aeden decides to leave the lab, it becomes clear to Emily that she must make a choice: follow her research or follow her heart.

A sharp, relevant novel that speaks to the ambitions and desires of modern women, The DNA of You and Me explores the evergreen question of career versus family, the irrational sensibility of love, and whether one can be a loner without a diagnostic label.

A smart debut novel—a wonderfully engaging infusion of Lab Girl, The Assistants, and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine—that pits the ambition of scientific discovery against the siren call of love.

How does smell work? Specifically, how do olfactory sensory neurons project to their targets in the olfactory bulb, where smell is processed? Justin McKinnon has hired fresh-faced graduate student Emily to study that question. What Justin hasn't told Emily is that two other scientists in the lab, Aeden and Allegra, are working on a very similar topic, and their findings may compete with her research.

Emily was born focused and driven. She's always been more comfortable staring down the barrel of a microscope than making small talk with strangers. Competition doesn't scare her. Her special place is the lab, where she analyzes DNA sequences, looking for new genes that might be involved in guiding olfactory neurons to their targets.

To Emily's great surprise, her rational mind is unsettled by Aeden. As they shift from competitors to colleagues, and then to something more, Emily allows herself to see a future in which she doesn't end up alone. But when Aeden decides to leave the lab, it becomes clear to Emily that she must make a choice: follow her research or follow her heart.

A sharp, relevant novel that speaks to the ambitions and desires of modern women, The DNA of You and Me explores the evergreen question of career versus family, the irrational sensibility of love, and whether one can be a loner without a diagnostic label.

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About the Author-
  • Andrea Rothman was a post-doctoral fellow and subsequent research associate at the Rockefeller University in New York, where she studied the neurobiology of olfaction. She earned her MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her fiction has appeared in print and online publications such as Lablit, Cleaver Magazine, and Litro Magazine. She lives with her husband and two children in Long Island, New York.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 4, 2019
    This sharp debut from Rothman, a former research associate at the Rockefeller University in New York, sets a bittersweet love story within the cut-throat world of academic research, a great pairing she explores with heart, smarts, and a lot of furtive sex. The novel’s narrator, Emily, a bioinformatician—“a sort of Watson-and-Crick of the new millennium”—details her 12-year effort to discover a groundbreaking “pathfinder” gene at a New York City research lab. But her promising work means that university lab colleague Aeden will get sidelined as he’s grudgingly reassigned from his own project to help with Emily’s project. The pair’s initial animosity—fueled by Emily’s admission that she borrowed Aeden’s research findings—turns to passion, but also forces an emotional and career choice after Emily’s awkward visit to meet Aeden’s family. “People like Emily don’t need other people,” Aeden’s mother bluntly tells him, a conversation that Emily overhears. When she then discovers Aeden’s own duplicitous move to discredit her work, both are forced to take a hard look at their futures. This insider look at the rigors and risks of the competitive world of scientific research is fascinating, but it’s Rothman’s aching study of loneliness, heartbreak and forgiveness that resonate.

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The DNA of You and Me
A Novel
Andrea Rothman
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