Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells--taken without her knowledge--became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first ''immortal'' human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the ''colored'' ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells. Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, ''The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks'' captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.
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