Would you change your genes if you could? As we confront the 'industrial revolution of the genome', the recent discoveries of Crispr-Cas9 technologies are offering, for the first time, cheap and effective methods for editing the human genome. This opens up startling new opportunities as well as significant ethical uncertainty. Tracing events across a fifty-year period, from the first gene splicing techniques to the present day, this is the story of gene editing - the science, the impact and the potential. Kozubek weaves together the fascinating stories of many of the scientists involved in the development of gene editing technology. Along the way, he demystifies how the technology really works and provides vivid and thought-provoking reflections on the continuing ethical debate. Ultimately, Kozubek places the debate in its historical and scientific context to consider both what drives scientific discovery and the implications of the 'commodification' of life.
Author: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine,National Academy of Medicine,National Academy of Sciences,Committee on Human Gene Editing: Scientific, Medical, and Ethical Considerations
Publisher: National Academies Press
Genome editing is a powerful new tool for making precise alterations to an organismâ€™s genetic material. Recent scientific advances have made genome editing more efficient, precise, and flexible than ever before. These advances have spurred an explosion of interest from around the globe in the possible ways in which genome editing can improve human health. The speed at which these technologies are being developed and applied has led many policymakers and stakeholders to express concern about whether appropriate systems are in place to govern these technologies and how and when the public should be engaged in these decisions. Human Genome Editing considers important questions about the human application of genome editing including: balancing potential benefits with unintended risks, governing the use of genome editing, incorporating societal values into clinical applications and policy decisions, and respecting the inevitable differences across nations and cultures that will shape how and whether to use these new technologies. This report proposes criteria for heritable germline editing, provides conclusions on the crucial need for public education and engagement, and presents 7 general principles for the governance of human genome editing.
Since the birth of civilisation, human beings have manipulated other life-forms. We have selectively bred plants and animals for thousands of years to maximize agricultural production and cater to our tastes in pets. The observation of the creation of artificial animal and plant variants was a key stimulant for Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. The ability to directly engineer the genomes of organisms first became possible in the 1970s, when the gene for human insulin was introduced into bacteria to produce this protein for diabetics. At the same time, mice were modified to produce human growth hormone, and grew huge as a result. But these were only our first tottering steps into the possibilities of genetic engineering. In the past few years, the pace of progress has accelerated enormously. We can now cut and paste genes using molecular scissors with astonishing ease, and the new technology of genome editing can be applied to practically any species of plants or animals. 'Mutation chain reaction' can be used to alter the genes of a population of pests, such as flies; as the modified creatures breed, the mutation is spread through the population, so that within a few generations the organism is almost completely altered. At the same time, scientists are also beginning to synthesize new organisms from scratch. These new technologies hold much promise for improving lives. Genome editing has already been used clinically to treat AIDS patients, by genetically modifying their white blood cells to be resistant to HIV. In agriculture, genome editing could be used to engineer species with increased food output, and the ability to thrive in challenging climates. New bacterial forms may be used to generate energy. But these powerful new techniques also raise important ethical dilemmas and potential dangers, pressing issues that are already upon us given the speed of scientific developments. To what extent should parents be able to manipulate the genetics of their offspring - and would designer babies be limited to the rich? Can we effectively weigh up the risks from introducing synthetic lifeforms into complex ecosystems? John Parrington explains the nature and possibilities of these new scientific developments, which could usher in a brave, new world. We must rapidly come to understand its implications if we are to direct its huge potential to the good of humanity and the planet.
Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution
Author: Jennifer A. Doudna,Samuel H. Sternberg
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize One of Science News’ Favorite Books of the Year “Required reading for every concerned citizen.” — New York Review of Books “The future is in our hands as never before, and this book explains the stakes like no other.” — George Lucas Not since the atomic bomb has a technology so alarmed its inventors that they warned the world about its use. That is, until 2015, when biologist Jennifer Doudna called for a worldwide moratorium on the use of the gene-editing tool CRISPR—a revolutionary new technology that she helped create—to make heritable changes in human embryos. The cheapest, simplest, most effective way of manipulating DNA ever known, CRISPR may well give us the cure to HIV, genetic diseases, and some cancers. Yet even the tiniest changes to DNA could have myriad, unforeseeable consequences—to say nothing of the ethical and societal repercussions of intentionally mutating embryos to create “better” humans. Writing with fellow researcher Sam Sternberg, Doudna shares the thrilling story of her discovery and describes the enormous responsibility that comes with the power to rewrite the code of life. “An essential start to educating the public . . . reveal[s] the complex, interlocking, and thoroughly international nature of today’s bioscience.” —Los Angeles Review of Books “An invaluable account . . . We owe Doudna several times over.” — Guardian
Race has provided the rationale and excuse for some of the worst atrocities in human history. Yet, according to many biologists, physical anthropologists, and geneticists, there is no valid scientific justification for the concept of race. To be more precise, although there is clearly some physical basis for the variations that underlie perceptions of race, clear boundaries among “races” remain highly elusive from a purely biological standpoint. Differences among human populations that people intuitively view as “racial” are not only superficial but are also of astonishingly recent origin. In this intriguing and highly accessible book, physical anthropologist Ian Tattersall and geneticist Rob DeSalle, both senior scholars from the American Museum of Natural History, explain what human races actually are—and are not—and place them within the wider perspective of natural diversity. They explain that the relative isolation of local populations of the newly evolved human species during the last Ice Age—when Homo sapiens was spreading across the world from an African point of origin—has now begun to reverse itself, as differentiated human populations come back into contact and interbreed. Indeed, the authors suggest that all of the variety seen outside of Africa seems to have both accumulated and started reintegrating within only the last 50,000 or 60,000 years—the blink of an eye, from an evolutionary perspective. The overarching message of Race? Debunking a Scientific Myth is that scientifically speaking, there is nothing special about racial variation within the human species. These distinctions result from the working of entirely mundane evolutionary processes, such as those encountered in other organisms.
A handful of discoveries have changed the course of human history. This book is about the most recent and potentially the most powerful and dangerous of them all. It is an invention that allows us to rewrite the genetic code that shapes and controls all living beings with astonishing accuracy and ease. Thanks to it, the dreams of genetic manipulation have become a stark reality: the power to cure disease and alleviate suffering, to create new sources of food and energy, as well as to re-design any species, including humans, for our own ends. Jennifer Doudna is the co-inventor of this technology - known as CRISPR - and a scientist of worldwide renown. Writing with fellow researcher Samuel Sternberg, here she provides the definitive account of her discovery, explaining how this wondrous invention works and what it is capable of. She also asks us to consider what our new-found power means: how do we enjoy its unprecedented benefits while avoiding its equally unprecedented dangers? The future of humankind - and of all life on Earth - is at stake. This book is an essential guide to the path that now lies ahead.
Rob DeSalle,Michael Yudell,American Museum of Natural History
A User's Guide to the Genetic Past, Present, and Future
Author: Rob DeSalle,Michael Yudell,American Museum of Natural History
A thrilling "user's guide" to the genomics era Welcome to the genome, the miraculous blueprint of your DNA, coiled tight as a spring in the nucleus of each cell of your body. If unwound, the DNA from just one cell, while only a molecule in width, would stretch six feet in length! The information stored in its double helix structure - three billion bits worth - could fill 142 Manhattan phone books. Yet far more amazing than these facts is the impact the study of genomics has had on so many areas of our lives. From the promise of personalized medicine and gene therapy to disputes over the safety of genetically modified (GM) foods, there is little doubt we are in the midst of the Genomic Revolution. Now how do we make sense of it all? Welcome to the Genome takes you right into the thick of today's most cutting-edge science and its far-reaching implications. Authors Rob DeSalle, who curated the highly successful Genomics Revolution exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and Michael Yudell, Assistant Professor of Public Health at Drexel University, have written a book which clearly explains the ongoing saga of our attempts to understand the mystery of biology's Rosetta Stone and use its code to better our lives. This reader-friendly book employs an understandable style and eye-popping full-color illustrations to provide real insights into the complex science involved. It delves into the past discoveries that led to the sequencing of the human genome; it presents the challenges facing today's scientists and society and culture in general; and it considers the future possibilities of the developing genome era. Social issues, particularly questions of ethics, receive special attention, covering an important area too often overshadowed by science and technology. If the genome really is the book of life, then we have only just opened to the first of its many pages. Those who triumphantly claim DNA is destiny may have spoken too soon; it is far more likely today's discoveries will lead to insights yet to be imagined. A stirring and informative introduction to a scientific epic still unfolding, Welcome to the Genome is an essential guide for understanding - and participating in - the incredible explorations, discussions, and realizations of the Genomic Revolution.
While there are many excellent pacing and defibrillation books, they are nearly all written by physicians for physicians. The second edition of the successful The Nuts and Bolts of Cardiac Pacing has been thoroughly updated, reflecting the new challenges, issues, and devices that clinicians deal with. Written specifically for non-cardiologists in a lively, intelligent and easy to follow style, it emphasizes real-life clinical practice and practical tips, including illustrations from actual clinical settings. Each chapter concludes with a checklist of key points from each subject ("Nuts and Bolts"). New features to the second edition include: updated terminology and images reflecting new software developments information on new innovations and advanced features, such as ventricular intrinsic preference and AF suppression new features on the automatic atrial capture test and follow-up features new chapter covering clinical studies on the possible dangers of excessive RV pacing Building layer by layer on the fundamental principles and concluding with advanced concepts, The Nuts and Bolts of Cardiac Pacing is intended for a novice to appreciate overall concepts and for a seasoned veteran to turn to answer a specific question. This book offers practical, reliable and objective information on cardiac devices – it's easy to pick up, find what you need, and put down.
CRISPR is an acronym for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats which are segments of prokaryotic DNA containing short, repetitive base sequences. These play a key role in a bacterial defense system and form the basis of a genome editing technology known as CRISPR/Cas9 that allows permanent modification of genes within organisms. In a palindromic repeat, the sequence of nucleotides is the same in both directions. Each repetition is followed by short segments of spacer DNA from previous exposures to foreign DNA (e.g., a virus or plasmid). Small clusters of cas (CRISPR-associated system) genes are located next to CRISPR sequences. The CRISPR/Cas system is a prokaryotic immune system that confers resistance to foreign genetic elements such as those present within plasmids and phages that provides a form of acquired immunity. RNA harboring the spacer sequence helps Cas proteins recognize and cut exogenous DNA. Other RNA-guided Cas proteins cut foreign RNA. CRISPRs are found in approximately 40% of sequenced bacterial genomes and 90% of sequenced archaea. A simple version of the CRISPR/Cas system, CRISPR/Cas9, has been modified to edit genomes. By delivering the Cas9 nuclease complexed with a synthetic guide RNA (gRNA) into a cell, the cell's genome can be cut at a desired location, allowing existing genes to be removed and/or new ones added. The Cas9-gRNA complex corresponds with the CAS III crRNA complex in the above diagram. CRISPR/Cas genome editing techniques have many potential applications, including medicine and crop seed enhancement. The use of CRISPR/Cas9-gRNA complex for genome editing was the AAAS's choice for breakthrough of the year in 2015. Bioethical concerns have been raised about the prospect of using CRISPR for germline editing. This book is designed to be a state of the art, superb academic reference work and provide an overview of the topic and give the reader a structured knowledge to familiarize yourself with the topic at the most affordable price possible. The accuracy and knowledge is of an international viewpoint as the edited articles represent the inputs of many knowledgeable individuals and some of the most current knowledge on the topic, based on the date of publication.
A revolutionary reimagining of the cities we live in, the air above us, and what goes on in the earth beneath our feet Today we live in a world that can no longer be read as a two-dimensional map, but must now be understood as a series of vertical strata that reach from the satellites that encircle our planet to the tunnels deep within the ground. In Vertical, Stephen Graham rewrites the city at every level: how the geography of inequality, politics, and identity is determined in terms of above and below. Starting at the edge of earth’s atmosphere and, in a series of riveting studies, descending through each layer, Graham explores the world of drones, the city from the viewpoint of an aerial bomber, the design of sidewalks and the hidden depths of underground bunkers. He asks: why was Dubai built to be seen from Google Earth? How do the super-rich in São Paulo live in their penthouses far above the street? Why do London billionaires build vast subterranean basements? And how do the technology of elevators and subversive urban explorers shape life on the surface and subsurface of the earth? Vertical will make you look at the world around you anew: this is a revolution in understanding your place in the world.
The development of CRISPR-Cas technology is revolutionizing biology. Based on machinery bacteria use to target foreign nucleic acids, these powerful techniques allow investigators to edit nucleic acids and modulate gene expression more rapidly and accurately than ever before. Featuring contributions from leading figures in the CRISPR-Cas field, this laboratory manual presents a state-of-the-art guide to the technology. It includes step-by-step protocols for applying CRISPR-Cas-based techniques in various systems, including yeast, zebrafish, Drosophila, mice, and cultured cells (e.g., human pluripotent stem cells). The contributors cover web-based tools and approaches for designing guide RNAs that precisely target genes of interest, methods for preparing and delivering CRISPR-Cas reagents into cells, and ways to screen for cells that harbor the desired genetic changes. Strategies for optimizing CRISPR-Cas in each system--especially for minimizing off-target effects--are also provided. Authors also describe other applications of the CRISPR-Cas system, including its use for regulating genome activation and repression, and discuss the development of next-generation CRISPR-Cas tools. The book is thus an essential laboratory resource for all cell, molecular, and developmental biologists, as well as biochemists, geneticists, and all who seek to expand their biotechnology toolkits.
The Story of Nic Volker and the Dawn of Genomic Medicine
Author: Kathleen Gallagher,Mark Johnson
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Category: Biography & Autobiography
The breathtaking story of a young boy with a never-before-seen disease, and the doctors who take a bold step into the future of medicine to save him—based on the authors’ Pulitzer Prize–winning reporting. In this landmark medical narrative, in the tradition of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalists Mark Johnson and Kathleen Gallagher chronicle the story of Nic Volker, the Wisconsin boy at the center of a daring breakthrough in medicine—a complete gene sequencing to discover the cure for an otherwise undiagnosable illness. At just two years old, Nic experienced a searing pain that signaled the awakening of a new and deadly disease, one that would hurl Nic and his family up against the limits of modern medicine. For years, through false starts and failed cures, Nic holds on to life, buoyed up by his mother’s fierce drive to get him the care he needs. But when even the world’s experts are stumped by Nic’s illness, his doctors come up with a radical, long-shot plan: a step into the unknown. The next major scientific frontier, following the completion of the Human Genome Project, was to figure out how to use our new knowledge to save lives—to bring genomic or personalized medicine into reality. It’s a quest that is undertaken by researchers around the world. But it is only when geneticist Howard Jacob hears about young Nic that the finish line finally comes into sight: It’s no longer a race to make history. It’s a race to save this boy’s life. One in a Billion is an unforgettable tale of the lives that converged to launch a medical revolution. As pioneering geneticist Mary-Claire King pronounced upon learning Nic’s story: “It was as if one had heard about Case Zero of AIDS and the cure, all at once.”
The land of pyramids and sphinxes, pharaohs and goddesses, Egypt has been a source of awe and fascination from the time of the ancient Greeks to the twenty-first century. In Egyptomania, Ronald H. Fritze takes us on a historical journey to unearth the Egypt of the past, a place inhabited by strange gods, powerful magic, spell-binding hieroglyphs, and the uncanny, mummified remains of ancient people. Walking among monumental obelisks and through the dark corridors of long-sealed tombs, he reveals a long-standing fascination with an Egypt of incredible wonder and mystery. As Fritze shows, Egypt has exerted a powerful force on our imagination. Medieval Christians considered it a holy land with many connections to biblical lore, while medieval Muslims were intrigued by its towering monuments, esoteric sciences, and hidden treasures. People of the Renaissance sought Hermes Trismegistus as the ancient originator of astrology, alchemy, and magic, and those of the Baroque pondered the ciphers of the hieroglyphs. Even the ever-practical Napoleon was enchanted by it, setting out in a costly campaign to walk in the footsteps of Alexander the Great through its valleys, by then considered the cradle of Western civilization. And of course the modern era is one still susceptible to the lure of undiscovered tombs and the curses of pharaohs cast on covetous archeologists. Raising ancient Egyptian art and architecture into the light of succeeding history, Fritze offers a portrait of an ancient place and culture that has remained alive through millennia, influencing everything from religion to philosophy to literature to science to popular culture.
At the close of the 1970s, the two-domain classification scheme long used by most biologists—prokaryotes versus eukaryotes—was upended by the discovery of an entirely new group of organisms: archaea. Initially thought to be bacteria, these single-celled microbes—many of which were first found in seemingly unlivable habitats like the volcanic hot springs of Yellowstone National Park—were in fact so different at molecular and genetic levels as to constitute a separate, third domain beside bacteria and eukaryotes. Their discovery sparked a conceptual revolution in our understanding of the evolution of life, and Patrick Forterre was—and still is—at the vanguard of this revolution. In Microbes from Hell, one of the world’s leading experts on archaea and hyperthermophiles, or organisms that have evolved to flourish in extreme temperatures, offers a colorful, engaging account of this taxonomic upheaval. Blending tales of his own search for thermophiles with discussions of both the physiological challenges thermophiles face and the unique adaptations they have evolved to live in high-temperature environments, Forterre illuminates our developing understanding of the relationship between archaea and the rest of Earth’s organisms. From biotech applications to the latest discoveries in thermophile research, from microbiomes to the communities of organisms that dwell on deep-sea vents, Forterre’s exploration of life-forms that seem to thrive at the mouth of hell provides a glimpse into the early days of Earth, offering deep insight into what life may have looked like in the extreme environments of our planet’s dawn.
Redesigning the Future of Humanity - One Gene at a Time
Author: Juan Enriquez,Steve Gullans
"Futurist Juan Enriquez and scientist Steve Gullans conduct a sweeping tour of how humans are changing the course of evolution for all species--sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. For example: What if life forms are limited only by the bounds of our imagination? Are designer babies and pets, de-extinction, even entirely newspecies fair game?; As humans, animals, and plants become ever more resistant to disease and aging, what will become the leading causes of death?; Man-machine interfaces may allow humans to live much longer. What will happen when we transfer parts of our 'selves' into clones, into stored cells and machines? Though these harbingers of change are deeply unsettling, the authors argue we are also in an epoch of tremendous opportunity. Future humans, perhaps a more diverse, resilient, gentler, and intelligent species, may become better caretakers of the planet--but only if we make the right choices now."--Provided by publisher.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine,Division on Earth and Life Studies,Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology,Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources,Board on Life Sciences,Committee on Future Biotechnology Products and Opportunities to Enhance Capabilities of the Biotechnology Regulatory System
Author: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine,Division on Earth and Life Studies,Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology,Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources,Board on Life Sciences,Committee on Future Biotechnology Products and Opportunities to Enhance Capabilities of the Biotechnology Regulatory System
Publisher: National Academies Press
Between 1973 and 2016, the ways to manipulate DNA to endow new characteristics in an organism (that is, biotechnology) have advanced, enabling the development of products that were not previously possible. What will the likely future products of biotechnology be over the next 5â€"10 years? What scientific capabilities, tools, and/or expertise may be needed by the regulatory agencies to ensure they make efficient and sound evaluations of the likely future products of biotechnology? Preparing for Future Products of Biotechnology analyzes the future landscape of biotechnology products and seeks to inform forthcoming policy making. This report identifies potential new risks and frameworks for risk assessment and areas in which the risks or lack of risks relating to the products of biotechnology are well understood.
Marilyn Moffat,Steve Vickery,American Physical Therapy Association (1921- )