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It Takes a Genome: How a Clash Between Our Genes and Modern Life Is Making Us Sick by Greg Gibson

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Athletic Asthmatics

A small boy passes his night crunched up in fits on his bed, chest to knees and forehead to pillow, just trying to suck enough air into reluctant lungs to feel comfortable enough to sleep. This incidence of mild asthma was brought on by who knows what, perhaps the tobacco smoke seeping out of his father’s study, maybe the cat fur balled up under the old couch in the living room, or even something as innocuous as a mold hiding in the black bean sauce from last night’s Chinese take-out.

Not that asthma is a new ailment: A long list of prominent figures in the Arts and Sciences testifies that it is an obstacle readily overcome by those of firm purpose. Politicians and revolutionaries of various ilk have suffered. On the one ...

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