Here’s a nice tweet:
My NYRB review of Doudna's CRISPR book (and others) now online. https://t.co/YY45B7LILP
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) July 1, 2017
New York Review of Books pieces aren’t often free, so it’s nice that this one, which has Matthew reviewing three books on biotechnology and genetics (list below), is available gratis at the link in the tweet. The books:
The Gene Machine: How Genetic Technologies Are Changing the Way We Have Kids—and the Kids We Have
by Bonnie Rochman
Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 272 pp., $26.00
DNA Is Not Destiny: The Remarkable, Completely Misunderstood Relationship Between You and Your Genes
by Steven J. Heine
Norton, 344 pp., $26.95
A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution
by Jennifer A. Doudna and Samuel H. Sternberg
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 281 pp., $28.00
I reviewed the Doudna and Sternberg book in the Washington Post yesterday (in the paper edition tomorrow), and Matthew and I independently came up with the same assessment: it’s good and well worth reading. He talks about something I didn’t, as I didn’t have the space: gene drives, a mechanism for spreading engineered “designer genes” through a species. It’s not only potentially dangerous per se, but could also be used for bioterrorism. See his piece for more discussion.
I haven’t read the other two books, but Matthew clearly feels that A Crack in Creation is the best of the lot, and I agree with him wholeheartedly when he says this:
In A Crack in Creation, one of the pioneers of this technique, the biochemist Jennifer Doudna of the University of California at Berkeley, together with her onetime student Samuel Sternberg, describes the science behind CRISPR and the history of its discovery. This guidebook to the CRISPR revolution gives equal weight to the science of CRISPR and the profound ethical questions it raises. The book is required reading for every concerned citizen—the material it covers should be discussed in schools, colleges, and universities throughout the country. Community and patient groups need to understand the implications of this technology and help decide how it should and should not be applied, while politicians must confront the dramatic challenges posed by gene editing.
It is indeed required reading. Read it!