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2015 ALA Notable Book Would you cut out your healthy breasts and ovaries if you thought it might save your life? Thats not a theoretical question for journalist Lizzie Starks relatives, who grapple with the horrific legacy of cancer built into the family DNA, a BRCA mutation that has robbed most of her female relatives of breasts, ovaries, peace of mind, or life itself. In Pandoras DNA, Stark uses her familys experience to frame a larger story about the so-called breast cancer genes, exploring the morass of legal quandaries, scientific developments, medical breakthroughs, and ethical concerns that surround the BRCA mutations, from the troubling history of prophylactic surgery and the storied origins of the boob job to the landmark lawsuit against Myriad Genetics, which held patents on the BRCA genes every human carries in their body until the Supreme Court overturned them in 2013.

About the Author

Lizzie Stark

Lizzie Stark is the author of two nonfiction books.

Her most recent, PANDORA'S DNA, examines the history and science of the breast cancer genes through her family tree; Stark was diagnosed with a BRCA1 mutation in 2009 after watching her mother suffer cancer twice as a young girl. But PANDORA'S DNA reaches beyond memoir with painstaking reportage covering everything from the surprisingly long history of plastic surgery, which dates to ancient India, to the modern controversy over mammograms as a way of screening healthy young women for cancer, and the landmark Supreme Court case against Myriad Genetics that overturned human gene patenting.

Her first book, LEAVING MUNDANIA, examined the hobby of larp, or live action roleplay--essentially make believe on steroids for adults. She blogs about gaming at LeavingMundania.com.

Stark's shorter writing has appeared on The Today Show website, The Daily Beast, io9.com, The Philadelphia Inquirer and elsewhere. For eight years, she served as editor-in-chief of the literary magazine Fringe, dedicated to political and experimental writing.

Lizzie holds an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University and an M.F.A. in fiction writing from Emerson College.

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