"Jamie Metzl’s book — ranging through genetics, human destiny and the future is an incredible trove of information for scientists, futurists, technologists, entrepreneurs, and virtually every intrigued, interested reader. A gifted and thoughtful writer, Metzl brings us to the frontiers of biology and technology, and reveals a world full of promise and peril. This is a must-read book." — Siddhartha Mukherjee MD, New York Times bestselling author of The Emperor of All Maladies and The Gene: An Intimate History
"In many ways, Jamie Metzl has been preparing Hacking Darwin for the last 20 years and his diligence shines through. Jamie is a gifted writer and his explanation of genetics are crisp, accurate, and wonderfully engaging. If you can only read one book on the future of our species, this is it." — Sanjay Gupta MD, bestseller author, neurosurgeon, and Emmy-award winning chief medical correspondent (CNN)
"Whether you already run the whitewater of transhumanism or oppose changing one atom of any species, you will see we have a revolution in our midst – one of engineering genes, possibly surpassing the space, atomic, and electronic revolutions in its significance. It is a transformation we ignore at great risk. To help prepare us for what’s coming, Jamie Metzl guides us brilliantly down the twisting and ever-changing river of our genetic future in this important and thought-provoking book. Beyond the issues of efficacy and safety, he thoughtfully explores the ultimately more critical issues of diversity, equality, and respect for each other and our common humanity." — George Church, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and author of Regenesis
"Jamie Metzl’s Hacking Darwin is an outstanding guide to the most important conversation of our lives how we humans will hijack our evolutionary process and transcend the limits of our own biology." — Ray Kurzweil, inventor and futurist, author of The Singularity is Near and How to Create a Mind
"Jamie Metzl possesses a nearly superhuman ability to take in vast amounts of research and synthesize it into disruptive, beautifully-wrought prose. To borrow a term from the book, Hacking Darwin is an intellectual masterbatortium—at once stimulating
and consummately satisfying." — Dan Buettner, National Geographic Fellow and New York Times bestselling author of Blue Zones Solution and Blue Zones of Happiness
"Genetic technologies contain extraordinary promise — and breathtaking challenges — with the potential to change virtually every aspect of our lives. In the pages of Hacking Darwin, Jamie Metzl takes us on a critical journey through opportunities and obstacles on humanity's greatest expedition: the exploration and re-imagining of what it means to be human." — Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles
"Jamie Metzl has written a personal, funny, unpretentious and ultimately deeply optimistic book about how the human race will transform itself through genomics. In his enthusiastic embrace of our technological future, Metzl gives voice to the adventure of biological discovery without losing sight of the risks. Hacking Darwin is a witty introduction to a wide variety of themes within genomics, and is at its most profound when imagining not just the science, but the social and geopolitical reactions that will accrue throughout the world. Metzl writes about real science with the flair of a science fiction writer, and in the process challenges us to begin a complex but necessary conversation about how humanity will evolve." — Robert C. Green, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine (Genetics), Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Broad Institute and Harvard Medical School
"Jamie Metzl's Hacking Darwin should be required reading for business executive, scientists, worriers, and dreamers for anyone interested in the future of science and humanity. Bit by bit, with wit and grace, he shows how we are rebuilding the very notion of what it means to be human, and how we will inevitably be changed in that process." — Debora Spar, author of The Baby Business and Baker Foundation Professor, Harvard Business School
"Humans taking control of human evolution is happening now and it could be the most significant thing we have done since we learned how to make and use fire. When history looks back on this period, it will not focus on the shiny objects that grab the attention of media today, but rather on the tech breakthroughs that Metzl explains in such clear language. Hacking Darwin is essential reading if you want to understand what will be seen as the most important thing happening in this epoch." — Richard A. Clarke, bestselling author of Warnings and former White House National Security official
"The bio-sciences revolution is coming at us faster than we realize and what better guide to its possibilities than Jamie Metzl. Hacking Darwin is a compelling read ahead of our genetic future, breathtaking on one hand, thought provoking and challenging on the other. A must read and entertaining guide if you care to know what lies ahead and what to do about it." — James Manyika, Chairman, McKinsey Global Institute.
"Evolution has changed since Darwin's time. We are driving unnatural selection and nonrandom mutation. This gives us the power to alter all species, including ourselves. So the key emerging debate is: Should we redesign humans? Why? How far? How fast? Metzl lays out what we can do now, what we might be able to do, in an engaging, nontechnical way. Let the debate begin." — Juan Enriquez, co-author Evolving Ourselves: Redesigning the Future of Humanity - One Gene at a Time
"Numerous books explain the genetic revolution now in progress; this one describes where it might lead, and it's a wild ride...a thoughtful, exciting, and mostly accessible account of how genetic manipulation will vastly improve our species. Miracles will happen, if not quite yet. " — Kirkus Reviews
"A highly readable compendium of next-gen advice for the implementation and management of next-gen science." — Publishers Weekly
"Hacking Darwin paints a picture of our future that is both exciting and hopeful as well as dangerous and terrifying. Brilliantly written and deeply thought provoking, it is a must read — for the entire planet. I could not put it down, reading it in a single sitting." — Michael Morell, Former Acting and Deputy Director, CIA
"Timely, important, and thorough exploration of how inheritance will evolve from natural selection to a human-controlled generation-by-generation data hack. " — David Sable, Forbes.com
"Hacking Darwin...paints a picture that is at once wondrous and terrifying. Metzl writes with great clarity and a sense of urgency that we should all take to heart." — NPR Books
"Metzl has a knack both for clarifying granular scientific and moral complexities, and for seeing the big picture." — Nature.com
"In Hacking Darwin... world-famous futurist Jamie Metzl appeals to all humans of good will to together face the ethical and social problems raised by human genetic engineering." — Osservatore Romano (the official Vatican newspaper)
Numerous books explain the genetic revolution now in progress; this one describes where it might lead, and it's a wild ride.
"Hacking" is the unauthorized intrusion into a computer system, usually to alter its software. Some prefer the term "genetic engineering" to describe the process of changing an organism's DNA to produce useful products or, more recently, correct defects. Futurist Metzl (Eternal Sonata, 2016, etc.), a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council who has also served in the State Department and the White House, maintains that this process will become so routine that most of us will not understand what's happening and those that do might disapprove. In short, we will be hacked. One technique does not involve manipulating DNA. In today's in vitro fertilization, doctors pick among multiple eggs, perhaps test for a few traits, usually absence of some defect, and implant a selection. Advances will enable a mother to produce huge numbers of eggs and doctors to test for countless traits—e.g., resistance to diseases, personality, even longevity—before implanting the best. The obvious next step is to remove defects or insert improved DNA into the genome. The new, Nobel-worthy CRISPR breakthrough makes this not only possible, but practical, and the first applications are emerging from the laboratory. Metzl's explanation of how CRISPR works is no more comprehensible than those of earlier authors, but its dazzling possibilities are obvious. In future decades, advanced IVF will increasingly compete with sex as the primary way we procreate. Metzl devotes plenty of space to the fierce ethical debate, but the reality is that, given the choice, few parents are likely to choose "natural" reproduction and bear a child guaranteed to be less intelligent, talented, and healthy than otherwise.
A thoughtful, exciting, and mostly accessible account of how genetic manipulation will vastly improve our species. Miracles will happen, if not quite yet. Maybe in a few years....