If our genes are, to a great extent, 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. 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 Davies powerfully reveals in his new book, this is all about to change. Engrossing and page-turning, Editing Mankind 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. In so doing, Davies sheds light on the implications that this new technology will 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.
"A rollicking good tale about an enduring intellectual monument."
– American Scientist
"Superb. A tantalizing glimpse of the ethical perils and technological possibilities awaiting humanity."
– The Los Angeles Times
"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."