SCIENCES

As Gods: A Moral History of the Genetic Age

Basic Nov. 2022. 464p. ISBN 9781541602854. $35. SCI
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Cobb (zoology, Univ. of Manchester; The Idea of the Brain) has written an engaging, intriguing book about the history of genetic engineering and where it might lead society. Alongside descriptions of the scientific work being done, Cobb describes the people, groups, and meetings that shaped the discussions of the control of ongoing genetic experiments. From genetic engineering of embryos through genetic modification of plants and animals to bioweapons, the author tries to show the good and bad sides. The good intentions of genetically modified crops or genetic modifications of mosquitoes and other pests to reduce disease and crop loss have an unknown environmental impact, but it will likely have lasting repercussions. The author also asks readers to consider non-genetic solutions to complex problems. For example, funding clean water and better sewage systems around the world will reduce many diseases without genetic engineering.
VERDICT An excellent book for those interested in genetics or the impact of science on society.
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