SCIENCES

The Mutant Project: Inside the Global Race to Genetically Modify Humans

St. Martin’s. Oct. 2020. 304p. ISBN 9781250265357. $28.99. SCI
COPY ISBN
Cultural anthropologist Kirksey (Deakin Univ., Melbourne; Emergent Ecologies) immersed himself in the world of genetic medicine to report on the status of human genetic engineering, from custom-made gene therapies for cancer and HIV patients to gene editing in reproductive medicine. But the centerpiece of Kirskey’s story is the secret experiment of Chinese scientist Jiankui He, who used the gene editing tool CRISPR to modify a gene in human embryos to be HIV resistant and, disregarding ethical and legal issues, transplanted the embryos back into the mother. Kirksey traces Jiankui He’s spectacular rise to superstar scientist and his equally spectacular fall owing to the negative reaction following the announcement that his CRISPR-modified embryos resulted in the birth of twin girls. Despite the scientific community’s condemnation of Jiankui He’s experiment, the author believes that human gene experimentation will continue to race forward without adequate ground rules or oversight, in China and elsewhere.
VERDICT A fascinating albeit chilling account of how human embryo engineering moved from the realm of sf to scientific fact. Recommended for anyone interested in the brave new world of genetic engineering technologies.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER?

We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing

ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER?