Hacking the Code of Life
Just 45 years ago, the age of gene modification was born. Researchers could create glow-in-the-dark mice, farmyard animals producing drugs in their milk, and vitamin-enhanced rice that could prevent half a million people going blind every year.
But now GM is rapidly being supplanted by a new system called CRISPR or 'gene editing'. Using this approach, scientists can manipulate the genes of almost any organism with a degree of precision, ease and speed that we could only dream of ten years ago.
But is it ethical to change the genetic material of organisms in a way that might be passed on to future generations? If a person is suffering from a lethal genetic disease, is it even more unethical to deny them this option? Who controls the application of this technology, when it makes 'biohacking' - perhaps of one's own genome - a real possibility?
Nessa Carey's book is a thrilling and timely snapshot of a technology that will radically alter our futures.