One of the world's leading experts on genetics unravels one of the most important breakthroughs in modern science and medicine.
If our genes are, to a great extent, our destiny, then what would happen if mankind could engineer and alter the very essence of our DNA coding? Millions might be spared the devastating effects of hereditary disease or the challenges of disability, whether it was the pain of sickle-cell anemia to the ravages of Huntington’s disease.
But this power to “play God” also raises major ethical questions and poses threats for potential misuse. For decades, these questions have lived exclusively in the realm of science fiction, but as Kevin Davies powerfully reveals in his new book, this is all about to change.
Engrossing and page-turning, Editing Humanity takes readers inside the fascinating world of a new gene editing technology called CRISPR, a high-powered genetic toolkit that enables scientists to not only engineer but to edit the DNA of any organism down to the individual building blocks of the genetic code.
Davies introduces readers to arguably the most profound scientific breakthrough of our time. He tracks the scientists on the front lines of its research to the patients whose powerful stories bring the narrative movingly to human scale.
Though the birth of the “CRISPR babies” in China made international news, there is much more to the story of CRISPR than headlines seemingly ripped from science fiction. In Editing Humanity, Davies sheds light on the implications that this new technology can have on our everyday lives and in the lives of generations to come.
Kevin Davies is the executive editor of The CRISPR Journal and the founding editor of Nature Genetics. He holds an MA in biochemistry from the University of Oxford and a PhD in molecular genetics from the University of London. He is the author of Cracking the Genome,The $1,000 Genome, and co-authored a new edition of DNA: The Story of the Genetic Revolution with Nobel Laureate James D. Watson and Andrew Berry. In 2017, Kevin was selected for a Guggenheim Fellowship in science writing.
“With great reporting and deep knowledge, the science journalist Kevin Davies takes us to all of the frontlines of CRISPR research, from gene editing to improved agriculture. It’s the scientific revolution of our era, and Davies gives us a closeup view of all of the important players and exciting discoveries.”
– Walter Isaacson
"Davies recounts the history of CRISPR with detailed yet breezy prose. He digs deep into this history with a journalist's relish."
– Carl Zimmer, The New York Times
"In Editing Humanity, Kevin Davies attempts to illuminate the twists and turns of the CRISPR journey... The result is both a historical record and a map, inviting readers to learn from the past to navigate the present."
– Natalie Kofler, Nature
"We cannot rewind the tape of life to see how we might have been and whether humans are inevitable products of evolutionary processes, but as Kevin Davies states in his lively and enthralliing Editing Humanity, our unprecedented ability to engineer genomes rapidly and efficiently offers humankind the possibility of contemplating what we might become."
– Adrian Woolfson, The Washington Post
"A rollicking good tale about an enduring intellectual monument."
– American Scientist (Praise for Kevin Davies)
"Superb. A tantalizing glimpse of the ethical perils and technological possibilities awaiting humanity."
– The Los Angeles Times (Praise for Kevin Davies)
"The technical aspects of the major developments are excellently mediated for general readers. Moreover, Davies accents the rivalry and animosity of the Venter-Collins race, confirming once again that science is as much about fame and wealth as about pure Feynmanian curiosity. An informative run-through of genetics since Crick and Watson's discovery of DNA in 1953."