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
     
 

ISBN-10: 0465021751

ISBN-13: 9780465021758

Pub. Date: 10/02/2012

Publisher: Basic Books


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:
689,007
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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Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
popscipopulizer More than 1 year ago
*A full executive summary of this book is available at newbooksinbrief dot com. DNA was only discovered about a century ago, and it’s structure remained a mystery until about half a century ago, but since this time our knowledge and understanding of DNA has grown immensely (indeed exponentially). What’s more, this understanding has evolved to include not just an understanding of how DNA works, but also how it can be manipulated to help advance our ends. The most glaring example here is the phenomenon of genetically modified food. Though not without controversy initially (and some fringe opposition that lives on to this day), it is fair to say that genetically modified food was one of the major scientific advances of the 20th century. Over and above this, our understanding of DNA appeared to reach its most impressive manifestation with the successful sequencing of the human genome in the year 2000. For the genetics professor and pioneering genetic engineer George Church, however, genetically modified food and the Human Genome Project are but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the potential of genomics. Indeed, since the year 2005, the exponential growth rate in our ability to read and write DNA has increased from 1.5-fold per year (a rate that matches Moore’s law), to the incredible rate of 10-fold per year (p. 243). This explosion in scientific and technological progress has resulted in dramatic advancements in the areas of biochemicals, biomaterials, biofuels and biomedicine. What’s more, advancements in these technologies are but in their incipient stage, and the future of genomics promises to dwarf these initial achievements. In their new book Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves George Church and science writer Ed Regis take us through the developments that have occurred recently in the area of genomics, and also where these developments are likely to take us in the future. Church's book both is both invigorating and inspiring. However, it should be noted that the book is fairly technical throughout, and will only be easily-digested by a reader who already has a fairly deep understanding of the field. Having said that, an educated general reader equipped with a good amount of patience will have no trouble following the argument, and should learn a great deal in the process. A full executive summary of the book is available at newbooksinbrief dot com; a podcast discussion of the book will be available soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It sounds like the evil scientists in the Maximum Ride series! Which is freaky, because they made the kids have wings and one of them blind! And the kept them in dog crates!!! FREAKY!!!!!!!!!!