Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves
  • Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves
  • Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves

Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves

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by George M. Church, Ed Regis
     
 


Imagine a future in which human beings have become immune to all viruses, in which bacteria can custom-produce everyday items, like a drinking cup, or generate enough electricity to end oil dependency. Building a house would entail no more work than planting a seed in the ground. These scenarios may seem far-fetched, but pioneering geneticist George Church and… See more details below

Overview


Imagine a future in which human beings have become immune to all viruses, in which bacteria can custom-produce everyday items, like a drinking cup, or generate enough electricity to end oil dependency. Building a house would entail no more work than planting a seed in the ground. These scenarios may seem far-fetched, but pioneering geneticist George Church and science writer Ed Regis show that synthetic biology is bringing us ever closer to making such visions a reality. In Regenesis, Church and Regis explore the possibilities—and perils—of the emerging field of synthetic biology. Synthetic biology, in which living organisms are selectively altered by modifying substantial portions of their genomes, allows for the creation of entirely new species of organisms. Until now, nature has been the exclusive arbiter of life, death, and evolution; with synthetic biology, we now have the potential to write our own biological future. Indeed, as Church and Regis show, it even enables us to revisit crucial points in the evolution of life and, through synthetic biological techniques, choose different paths from those nature originally took. Such exploits will involve far more than just microbial tinkering. Full-blown genomic engineering will make possible incredible feats, from resurrecting woolly mammoths and other extinct organisms to creating mirror life forms with a molecular structure the opposite of our own. These technologies—far from the out-of-control nightmare depicted in science fiction—have the power to improve human and animal health, increase our intelligence, enhance our memory, and even extend our life span. A breathtaking look at the potential of this world-changing technology, Regenesis is nothing less than a guide to the future of life.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465021758
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
10/02/2012
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
284
Sales rank:
558,355
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

Prologue: From Bioplastics to H. Sapiens 2.0 1

Chapter 1 -3,800 Myr, Late Hadean: At the Inorganic/Organic Interface 15

Chapter 2 -3,500 Myr, Archean: Reading the Most Ancient Texts and the Future of Living Software 37

Chapter 3 -500 Myr, Cambrian: The Mirror World and the Explosion of Diversity. How Fast can Evolution Go and How Diverse Can It Be? 55

Chapter 4 -360 Myr, Carboniferous: "The Best Substitute for Petroleum is Petroleum" 91

Chapter 5 -60 Myr, Paleocene: Emergence of Mammalian Immune System. Solving the Health Care Crisis Through Genome Engineering 109

Chapter 6 -30,000 yr, Pleistocene Park: Engineering Extinct Genomes 133

Chapter 7 -10,000 yr, Neolithic: Industrial Revolutions. The Agricultural Revolution and Synthetic Genomics. The BioFab Manifesto 151

Chapter 8 -100 yr, Anthropocene: The Third Industrial Revolution. iGEM 179

Chapter 9 -1 yr, Holocene: From Personal Genomes to Immortal Human Components 203

Epigenetic Epilogue: +1 yr, The End of the Beginning, Transhumanism, and the Panspermia Era: Societal Risks and Countermeasures 225

Acknowledgments 255

Selected References 259

Illustration Sources 267

Notes: On Encoding This Book into DNA 269

Index 273

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