The Genesis Machine: Our Quest to Rewrite Life in the Age of Synthetic Biology (Hardcover)

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The Genesis Machine: Our Quest to Rewrite Life in the Age of Synthetic Biology (Hardcover)

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The breakthrough science of synthetic biology and its potential for helping solve humanity's existential challenges, from climate change to the health and feeding of millions, and fighting the next viral outbreak before it becomes a global pandemic.


Synthetic biology is the promising and controversial technology platform that combines biology and artificial intelligence, opening up the potential to program biological systems much as we program computers.
 
Synthetic biology enables us not just to read and edit DNA – the technique of CRISPR -  but also write it.  Rather than life being “a beautiful game of chance”, synthetic biology creates the potential to control our genetic destiny, to say “no” to bad genes and build  a veritable genetic app store for downloading and adding new capabilities into any cell, microbe, plant, or animal.
 
Amy Webb and Andrew Hessel’s riveting stories include: the work of scientists to develop plants that can be grown in sprawling indoor farms capable of feeding millions with a fraction of the usual resources required; a synthetic, self-regulating insulin that doesn’t require injections or a pump; life-altering regenerative, personalized medicine; and novel, durable solutions to climate change. There is also whimsy, such as the dream of some geneticists to “unextinct” the wooly mammoth.
 
By examining both the science and the ethical, moral, and religious issues surrounding synthetic biology, Webb and Hessel provide the background for preventing its misuse by some to re-engineer their bodies and that of their children, further increasing the disturbing division and polarization of societies into the haves (the enhanced) and the have nots. They provide the background for making wise decisions about issues such as: whether to program novel viruses to fight diseases, what genetic privacy will look like, who will "own" living organisms, how companies should earn revenue from engineered cells, and how to contain a synthetic organism in a lab. 
 
Whether we approve or disapprove of synthetic biology, it is coming. Now, we need to understand its promise and peril. Webb and Hessel help us understand the science as well as the political and societal issues involved.
 
 
Amy Webb is the founder of the Future Today Institute, a leading foresight and strategy firm that advises CEOs of the world's most-admired companies, three-star admirals and generals, and the senior leadership of central banks and intergovernmental organizations. She is a professor of strategic foresight at New York University's Stern School of Business and a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University's Säid School of Business. She was elected a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, is a member of the Bretton Woods Committee and serves as a Steward and Steering Committee member of the World Economic Forum. Amy was named by Forbes as "one of the five women changing the world" and was honored as one of the BBC's 100 Women of 2020. Amy is author of The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity and The Signals are Talking: Why Today's Fringe is Tomorrow's Mainstream. She resides in Baltimore, MD.
Andrew Hessel, a pioneer and an expert in the field of synthetic biology, is the president of Humane Genomics, an early-stage company developing synthetic viruses for canine and human oncology. He is also the co-founder and chairman of the Center of Excellence for Engineering Biology and the Genome Project, the international scientific effort to engineer large genomes, including the human genome. He is a former distinguished research scientist at Autodesk Life Sciences.

Product Details ISBN: 9781541797918
ISBN-10: 1541797914
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication Date: February 15th, 2022
Pages: 368
Language: English