Remaking Eden: Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World

Remaking Eden: Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World

by Lee M. Silver
     
 

On February 27, 1997, a stunning announcement appeared in the British journal Nature: for the first time ever, a mammal—a lamb named Dolly—had been successfully cloned from an adult cell. Less than a week later, scientists reported the successful cloning of a rhesus monkey, a primate whose reproduction and development is almost identical to our own.

Overview

On February 27, 1997, a stunning announcement appeared in the British journal Nature: for the first time ever, a mammal—a lamb named Dolly—had been successfully cloned from an adult cell. Less than a week later, scientists reported the successful cloning of a rhesus monkey, a primate whose reproduction and development is almost identical to our own. With two bold and hitherto unthinkable strokes, science fiction was transformed into science fact, preparing the way for a miraculous event that is, in all probability, inevitable: the cloning of a human being.

A distinguished scientist and professor at Princeton University, Lee M. Silver reveals what awaits us in the brilliant light of the new day that is now dawning. REMAKING EDEN is a fascinating exploration of the future of reprogenetic technologies—a cautiously optimistic look at the scientific advances that will allow us to engineer life in ways that were unimaginable just a few short years ago. Indeed, in ways that go far beyond cloning, and that are at once more thrilling and more frightening.

This is a brilliant, provocative, and necessary book. For better or worse, it describes the likely future of humankind—beyond fears both reasoned and unreasonable, beyond unrealistic utopian visions—an extra ordinary journey into a rapidly evolving tomorrow that no man or woman can forestall, but that we must all recognize and understand. REMAKING EDEN is an essential primer for that tomorrow.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
With current fertility technology producing septuplets in humans and cloning techniques yielding mediagenic sheep like Dolly, Silver (molecular/evolutionary biology and neuroscience, Princeton U.) leavens the ethical debates with cautious optimism over the directions in which genetic engineering may be leading: parent "designer" selection of their unborn's traits, enhancement of the human species, multiple parents, even pregnant men. In this context, his discussion for general readers on defining life becomes even more crucial. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
NY Times Book Review
Realistic, informed speculation by a geneticist and teacher of bioethics who finds the American polity so constructed that government can do little to control whatever potential parents desire and can afford; he's not at all sure that's bad, either.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780380974948
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
12/28/1997
Pages:
317
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.54(h) x 1.11(d)

Read an Excerpt

Prologue
A Glimpse of Things to Come

DATELINE BOSTON: JUNE 1, 2010

Someone in the not-so-distant future, you may visit the maternity ward at a major university hospital to see the newborn child or grandchild of a close friend. The new mother, let's call her Barbara, seems very much at peace w~ the world, sitting in a chair quietly nursing her baby, Max. Her labor was in ~e parlance of her doctor—"uneventful," and she is looking forward to raising her first child. You decide to make pleasant conversation by asking Barbara whether she knew in advance that her baby was going to be a boy. In your mind, it seems like a perfectly reasonable question since doctors have long given prospective parents the option of learning the sex of their child to-be many months before the predicted date of birth. But Barbara seems taken aback by the question. "Of course I knew that Max would be a boy ' she tells you. "My husband Dan and I chose him from our embryo pool. And when I'm ready to go through this again, I'll choose a girl to be my second child. An older son and a younger daughter a perfect family."

Now, it's your turn to be taken aback. "You made a conscious to have a boy rather than a girl?," you ask.

"Absolutely!," Barbara answers. "And while I was at it, I made sure that Max wouldn't turn out to be fat like my brother Tom or addicted to alcohol like Dan's sister Karen. It's not that I'm personally biased or any thing," Barbara continues defensively. "I just wanted to make sure that Max would have the greatest chance for achieving success. Being overweight or alcoholic would clearly be a handicap"

You look down in wonderment at the little baby boy destined to bemoderate in both size and drinking habits.

Max has fallen asleep in Barbara's arms, and she places him gently in his bassinet. He wears a contented smile, which evokes a similar smile from his mother. Barbara feels the urge to stretch her legs and asks whether you'd like to meet some of the new friends she's made during her brief stay at the hospital. You nod, and the two of you walk into the room next door where a thirty-five-year old woman named Cheryl is resting after giving birth to a nine-pound baby girl named Rebecca.

Barbara introduces you to Cheryl as well as a second woman named Madelaine, who stands by the bed holding Cheryl's hand. Little Rebecca is lying under the gaze of both Cheryl and Madelaine. "She really does look like both of her mothers, doesn't she?," Barbara asks you.

Now you're really confused. You glance at Barbara and whisper "Both mothers?"

Barbara takes you aside to explain. "Yes. You see Cheryl and Madelaine have been living together for eight years. They got married in Hawaii soon after it became legal there, and like most married couples, they wanted to bring a child into the world with a combination of both of their bloodlines. With the reproductive technologies available today, they were able to fulfill their dreams."

You look across the room at the happy little nuclear family—Cheryl, Madelaine, and baby Rebecca—and wonder how the hospital plans to fill out the birth certificate.

Copyright ) 1997 by Lee M. Silver

Meet the Author

Lee M. Silver is professor of molecular biology and public affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton Uni-versity, and author of Challenging Nature. He holds a Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard University, and he lives with his family in New Jersey and New York.

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