What is life? 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 previously 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.
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.
©2013 Adam Rutherford (P)2013 Gildan Media LLC
"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)
Letting the rest of the world go by
Most books on this incredibly interesting topic are too difficult to follow fully or too facile to add to my knowledge base. The author nicely hits the sweet spot between the two extremes.
Most of the recently issued popular science books I listened to on audible, I end up thinking I've already listened to the topic better presented in another book, not this time. The author is very good at laying out the narrative and taking my knowledge base one step further toward understanding our place in the universe by covering the topic in such clear terms but never talking down to the listener.
The first part of the book covers what is life and how can it arrive through natural processes. He discusses the three great biological theories from the 19th century, Cell, Evolution and DNA Theory. The second part delves into what does the future hold for further research in these fields.
Not much to not rave about in this short and highly listenable book. The writer is very good (I only wish he wrote a longer book), and the narrator, Walter Dixon, feels like an old friend since I've listened to and liked many of his other books.
Even if you are like me and have read many of the other fine books available on audible on this topic, I would still recommend this fine short book.
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