The birth of Dolly -- the world's first clone -- placed in our hands the secret of creation. Few discoveries have so altered our notion of what it means to be human, or presented such a Gordian knot of ethical, spiritual, and scientific questions. Noted science journalist Gina Kolata broke the news nationally in The New York Times and was the first reporter to speak with Dr. Ian Wilmut, the embryologist who cloned Dolly. Now Kolata reveals the story behind Dolly, interweaving the social and cultural tales of our fear and fascination with cloning, reaching back nearly a century, with the riveting scientific accountof how a clone came to be and the mind-boggling questions Dolly presents for our future.
Clone is a compelling blend of scientific suspense, dreams dashed, and frauds exposed, with provocative philosophical questions and an astute assessment of why Dolly's birth was only possible now. Like The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Lucy, and Chaos, this book gives us a window on history in the making, and an understanding of its profound effect on our lives.
Public attitudes toward cloning intensified after the announcement in early 1997 that Dr. Ian Wilmut had cloned a sheep from adult cells in Scotland. "Now there are no boundaries. Now all of science fiction is true," molecular geneticist Lee Silver remarked after hearing of Dolly's birth. New York Times science reporter Kolata (The Baby Doctors: Probing the Limits of Fetal Medicine), who broke the story nationally, conveys the fascination of both scientists and the public in this engrossing account of the theories and technology that led to Wilmut's success. Referring to such works as Frankenstein, Paradise Lost and The Island of Doctor Moreau, Kolata notes the ambivalence that rages beneath the current cloning debates. She brings keen insight to her analysis of the implications of cloning and makes the complex details of genetics and cell biology interesting and accessible. And she tells a great story, noting the curious twists and turns on the road to Dolly and how humble animal scientists carried out the plodding work of making cloning a reality. What lies ahead? Cloning can make it possible to grow organs for transplant, to produce inexpensive pharmaceuticals and help infertile couples have children. Will it also degrade individuality and increase human arrogance? Theologians, ethicists and scientists differ on these questions, but the impact of this new technology, made clear through Kolata's expert coverage, cannot be overstated. Author tour.