A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution
We live in interesting times. What was once the thrilling stuff of science fiction novels is now not only coming to pass but being used in our daily lives. Take that computer/camera/music player/storage device/phone you’re either holding or have within a few feet of your being at all times. In fact, this year a book was released by science-fiction thriller author Daniel Suarez called Change Agent about the ability to change one’s physical DNA with a single injection. Talk about far-fetched. Or perhaps not so much.
A Crack in Creation is the incredible story of the revolutionary biological tool known as CRISPR, which the world first heard about in 2015 when one of its inventors, Jennifer Doudna, declared a worldwide moratorium on its use. CRISPR, which stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, or CRISPR/Cas9, is a gene-editing tool that biologists can use to alter heritable changes in human embryos.
What does this mean exactly? Well, would you like your baby to have blue eyes? Black hair? Be tall? Have no chance of getting any inheritable diseases? CRISPR is a tool to facilitate this, and while we’re not fully there yet by any means, biologically or scientifically, this tool brings us one big step closer. It also opens up doors, avenues, and entire interstates that could lead to understanding and possibly curing many of the world’s abhorrent and prevalent diseases. But as the author, along with her co-researcher, Samuel Sternberg, are careful to point out: we’re not there yet, and just like Spiderman likes to constantly remind us: with great power comes great responsibility. Like in the science fiction novel mentioned above, CRISPR can be used for very good and incredible scientific breakthroughs, or it can be put to very bad and at times terrifying ends that most of us would rather just read about and never contemplate actually existing.
A Crack in Creation takes the reader from the inception of the idea to the present day, as the authors tell all the stories along the way about how important this new tool is for science but also how we need to take heed and use it wisely and carefully.
|Author||Jennifer A. Doudna • Samuel H. Sternberg|
|Page Count||304 pages|
|Publisher||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|
|Category||Science & Nature|