The Genesis Machine
Our Quest to Rewrite Life in the Age of Synthetic Biology
The next frontier in technology is inside our own bodies.
Synthetic biology will revolutionize how we define family, how we identify disease and treat aging, where we make our homes, and how we nourish ourselves. This fast-growing field--which uses computers to modify or rewrite genetic code--has created revolutionary, groundbreaking solutions such as the mRNA COVID vaccines, IVF, and lab-grown hamburger that tastes like the real thing. It gives us options to deal with existential threats: climate change, food insecurity, and access to fuel.
But there are significant risks.
Who should decide how to engineer living organisms? Whether engineered organisms should be planted, farmed, and released into the wild? Should there be limits to human enhancements? What cyber-biological risks are looming? Could a future biological war, using engineered organisms, cause a mass extinction event?
Amy Webb and Andrew Hessel's riveting examination of synthetic biology and the bioeconomy provide the background for thinking through the upcoming risks and moral dilemmas posed by redesigning life, as well as the vast opportunities waiting for us on the horizon.
About this Author
Andrew Hessel, a pioneer and an expert in the field of synthetic biology, is the president of Humane Genomics, an early-stage company developing synthetic viruses for canine and human oncology. He is also the co-founder and chairman of the Center of Excellence for Engineering Biology and the Genome Project, the international scientific effort to engineer large genomes, including the human genome. He is a former distinguished research scientist at Autodesk Life Sciences.
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