The Gold Bug Variations is a double love story of two young couples separated by a distance of twenty-five years. Stuart Ressler, a brilliant young molecular biologist, sets out in 1957 to crack the genetic code. His efforts are sidetracked by other, more intractable codes - social, moral, musical, spiritual - and he falls in love with a member of his research team. Years later, another young man and woman team up to investigate a different scientific mystery - why did the eminently promising Ressler suddenly disappear from the world of science? Strand by strand, these two love stories twist about each other in a double helix of desire.