Journalist Rebecca Skloot delves into the story of Deborah Lacks and her mother, Henrietta Lacks—an African American woman whose tissues were sampled without permission at John Hopkins after her death of cervical cancer in 1951. The unpermitted tissue sample was HeLa, a cell line used in innumerable experiments and responsible for discovering both vaccines and the understanding of how diseases like AIDS and cancer operate. Deborah Lacks was the youngest of the daughters; she never knew her mother, and Skloot's book examines the generational effect of the scientific experimentations and the shady immortalization of the mother through science.
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