Henrietta’s cells were the first immortal human cells ever grown in culture. They were essential to developing the polio vaccine. They went up in the first space missions to see what would happen to cells in zero gravity. Many scientific landmarks since then have used her cells, including cloning, gene mapping and in vitro fertilization.
Skloot writes about how scientists are using these unusual cells to study human immunity. But her book is also about how the scientific world collided with a largely illiterate family and how the human body has become a commodity.
Link | Photo: Lacks family, via Smithsonian