How Science Is Reinventing Life Itself
Current, Hardcover, 9781617230059, 278pp.
Publication Date: June 13, 2013
Humans have been asking this question for thousands of years. But as technology has advanced and our understanding of biology has deepened, the answer has evolved. For decades, scientists have been exploring the limits of nature by modifying and manipulating DNA, cells and whole organisms to create new ones that could never have existed on their own.
In "Creation," science writer Adam Rutherford explains how we are now radically exceeding the boundaries of evolution and engineering entirely novel creatures from goats that produce spider silk in their milk to bacteria that excrete diesel to genetic circuits that identify and destroy cancer cells. As strange as some of these creations may sound, this new, synthetic biology is helping scientists develop radical solutions to some of the world's most pressing crises from food shortages to pandemic disease to climate change and is paving the way for inventions once relegated to science fiction.
Meanwhile, these advances are shedding new light on the biggest mystery of all how did life begin? We know that every creature on Earth came from a single cell, sparked into existence four billion years ago. And as we come closer and closer to understanding the ancient root that connects all living things, we may finally be able to achieve a second genesis the creation of new life where none existed before.
"Creation "takes us on a journey four billion years in the making from the very first cell to the ground-breaking biological inventions that will shape the future of our planet.
“Rutherford tells the epic history of life on Earth and eloquently argues the case for embracing technology that allows us to become biological designers.”
—ALICE ROBERTS, broadcaster for the BBC, professor of public engagement in science at the University of Birmingham
“Just as the last century was regarded as the golden age of physics, so it is becoming increasingly clear that the twenty-first is the century of biology. This book is the perfect ‘story so far.’”
—JIM AL-KHALILI, broadcaster for the BBC, professor of physics at the University of Surrey, and author of Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Physics
“A superbly written explanation of how the origin of life on Earth became a question for science and what the answer might be.”
—BRIAN COX, broadcaster for the BBC, professor of physics at the University of Manchester, and author of Why Does E=mc²?
“Suddenly science is close to understanding the Indian rope trick by which life emerged from non-life four billion years ago. Adam Rutherford has written an engaging account of both the mystery and its impending resolution; he has also provided a fascinating glimpse of the impending birth of a new, synthetic biology.”
—MATT RIDLEY, author of Genome
“A witty, engaging and eye-opening explanation of the basic units of life, right back to our common ancestors and on to their incredible synthetic future. The mark of a really good science book, it shows that the questions we still have are just as exciting as the answers we already know.”
—DARA Ó BRIAIN, comedian
“A crisp, beguiling and rigorous book…”
—Los Angeles Times
“Combining superb science writing with a refreshing wit, Rutherford does an excellent job of bringing genomics and synthetic biology to life in this accessible overview of the past and future of the fields.... There’s much to savor here—even in the footnotes.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred)
“Rutherford makes his case with contagious enthusiasm… Genuinely amazing biology is in the works, and Rutherford delivers a fascinating overview.”
“Engaging… May it augur many more topdrawer science books by Rutherford.”
— Booklist (starred)
"Prepare to be astounded. There are moments when this book is so gripping it reads like a thriller."
—The Mail on Sunday (UK)
"Suspenseful, erudite and thrilling."
—The Prospect (UK)
"One of the most eloquent and genuinely thoughtful books on science over the past decade."
—The Observer (UK)
"Fascinating ... The extraordinary science and his argument are worth every reader's scrutiny."
—The Sunday Telegraph (UK)