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Mom Genes

Inside The New Science of Our Ancient Maternal Instinct

From the New York Times bestselling author and Smithsonian contributor comes a fascinating, in-depth, and provocative exploration of the biology of motherhood and how this ancient maternal instinct has the power to transform us as individuals.

Motherhood is the most important developmental stage that adult humans ever undergo. It changes us on a cellular level—our brains expand and grow; our genes turn on and off; our systems of reward and desire are rewired; we even smell and see the world differently.

Though a powerful and ancient force, scientists are just beginning to fully understand the maternal instinct and all that it encompasses. It is fragile, malleable, and is an individualized experience. While the maternal instinct is the basic building block of all social interaction, Mom Genes explores how mothers differ from other women and explains the hard science behind our tenderest maternal impulses, showing how hidden forces—from cells to civilizations—shape us as individuals.

Groundbreaking, accessible, and with powerful implications for families and entire cultures across the world, this book is vital reading for anyone who has ever wondered what rocks the hand that rocks the cradle.

Courtesy of Ross Douthat

Abigail Tucker was the first ever staff writer for Smithsonian magazine, where she remains a contributor. She previously wrote for The Baltimore Sun. Her work has been featured in the Best American Science and Nature Writing series. The first word of both of her daughters was “cat.” She is the author of Mom Genes and The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World.

“Filled with jaw-dropping facts and findings, this brilliant, absolutely fascinating book grabbed me from page one. In Mom Genes, Abigail Tucker distills an extraordinary range of cutting-edge research into fun, accessible chapters. Written in an engaging, often hilarious voice, Mom Genes illuminates the biology of everything motherly. I couldn’t put it down.”
—Amy Chua, Yale Law professor and author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and Political TribesGroup Instinct and the Fate of Nations

“With thorough research, keen insight, and wry humor, Abigail Tucker shows us why moms are different from other people—even, daresay, special, with superpowers that science is just beginning to reveal. For anyone who is a mother, or who has a mother, her book is an eye-opening tour through the biology and psychology of a role that is once utterly ordinary and wondrously strange.” 
–Annie Murphy Paul, author of OriginsHow the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives

More books from this author: Abigail Tucker