BY THE WINNER OF THE 2020 NOBEL PRIZE IN CHEMISTRY | Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize
“A powerful mix of science and ethics . . . This book is required reading for every concerned citizen—the material it covers should be discussed in schools, colleges, and universities throughout the country.”— New York Review of Books
Not since the atomic bomb has a technology so alarmed its inventors that they warned the world about its use. That is, until 2015, when biologist Jennifer Doudna called for a worldwide moratorium on the use of the gene-editing tool CRISPR—a revolutionary new technology that she helped create—to make heritable changes in human embryos. The cheapest, simplest, most effective way of manipulating DNA ever known, CRISPR may well give us the cure to HIV, genetic diseases, and some cancers. Yet even the tiniest changes to DNA could have myriad, unforeseeable consequences, to say nothing of the ethical and societal repercussions of intentionally mutating embryos to create “better” humans. Writing with fellow researcher Sam Sternberg, Doudna—who has since won the Nobel Prize for her CRISPR research—shares the thrilling story of her discovery and describes the enormous responsibility that comes with the power to rewrite the code of life.
“The future is in our hands as never before, and this book explains the stakes like no other.” — George Lucas
“An invaluable account . . . We owe Doudna several times over.” — Guardian
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The power to alter the human body on a genetic level sounds like a dream—but could it be a disaster? There’s nobody more qualified to explore this question than Nobel Prize–winning scientist Dr. Jennifer Doudna. Doudna helped create the revolutionary DNA-altering technology known as CRISPR, which has already changed how we think about livestock and crops. Still, things get super controversial when the conversation turns to human beings. Genetic engineering could speed up obvious wins like cancer treatment and prevention. But other avenues come with big moral questions, like so-called “designer” babies whose DNA is edited to avoid specific diseases or highlight specific traits. We love Doudna’s enthusiasm for her futuristic work and appreciate how down-to-earth she is in talking about it. She uses conversational language, relatable examples, and the occasional useful diagram to walk us through some pretty complicated material. Prepare to be gobsmacked about what the future may hold—and maybe a little concerned, too.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This book is so satisfyingly awe-inspring yet comprehensible to a layman that I cannot begin to express my love for it and all the scientists that made it happen. Though the writing is at times lacking genuine emotion and is somewhat disjointed… I am willing to look past all that, because what lies in the content is much much too fascinating to find fault with. The illustrations are so very hepful. Thank you for this amazing story of adventure, discovery, and knowledge.
This is the first step into a world of infinite possibilities. This is the wave of the future. Hereditary disorders to acquired diseases, this technology will give us the ability to hit the reset button on a genetic level. Pick this up for a view into what was until recently beloved to be science fiction. We truly are headed into a great future.