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.
A Crack In Creation also asks us to consider what our new-found power means: how do we enjoy its unprecedented benefits while avoiding its equally unprecedented dangers? As Doudna argues, every member of our species is implicated in the answers to these questions. Somehow we must consider and act together.
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.
About the Author
Jennifer Doudna is Professor of Chemistry and of Molecular and Cell Biology at University of California, Berkeley, and co-inventor of the CRISPR technology, for which she has been awarded many of the most distinguished prizes available, including the 2015 $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. That same year she was listed among the 100 most influential people in the world by Time. In 2016 she had the rare honour of being elected a foreign member of the Royal Society. She speaks around the world about CRISPR and its implications for our future.
Samuel Sternberg received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2014, and was a member of Jennifer Doudna’s laboratory from 2010 to 2015. He is a biochemist and author of numerous high-profile scientific publications on the CRISPR technology.
"The most important advance of our era. One of the pioneers of the field describes the exciting hunt for the key breakthrough and what it portends for our future" -- Walter Isaacson
"Too important ... What may happen thanks to Doudna's [discovery] is dizzying ... for her, this is the future of medicine. If she's right, then Crispr is about to make our present healthcare concerns look surprisingly trivial" -- Bryan Appleyard * Sunday Times *
"One of the architects of this miraculous biological technique ... explains the science clearly and excitingly as a kind of globalist detective story" * Telegraph *
"Probably the greatest biological breakthrough since that of Francis Crick, James Watson and Rosalind Franklin... We owe Doudna several times over - for her discovery, for her zeal to take it from the lab into the clinic, for her involvement in the ethical issues raised, for her public engagement work, and now for this book" -- Peter Forbes * Guardian *
"An urgent plea from the celebrated biologist whose discovery enabled us to rewrite the code of life. The future is in our hands as never before, and this book explains the stakes like no other" -- George Lucas