McCaskey grad writes new book on CRISPR and genome engineering – LancasterOnline

Before Sam Sternberg was part of the scientific breakthrough of the century, he was one of the winners of Lancaster Countys science and engineering fair.

CRISPR can be explained as a find-and-replace tool, Sternberg said in a Common Hour talk at Frankin & Marshall College last year. It can find misspelled sequences of DNA that cause genetic mutations and replace them with the right sequences.

Sternberg did his doctoral research in a laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, where Doudna made this important discovery. Since then, researchers have been fighting in court over the patent for genetic engineering with CRISPR.

After Sternberg finished his graduate work, he focused on co-writing the book about the CRISPRs discovery to bring the story to an audience beyond the science community.

Doudnas memoir is partly an attempt to sustain her voice in the debate over Crisprs practical and less-practical uses and partly an effort to secure her legacy, Bloomberg writes.

Some reviewers say they would have liked more discussion on the ethics of genetic engineering, especially on genes that are inheritable.

Doudna and Sternberg predict that within a generation there will be little left untouched by CRISPR, says a review from Science.” As such, its impossible not to wonder if the motivation behind the book is to stake Doudnas claims on the technology or if, perhaps, it is meant to serve as a preemptive mea culpa for unleashing a technology that will irrevocably alter life on Earth.

There are many compelling reasons for why this is a worthy contribution for any booklist, but for Berkeley the justification is even richer. UC Berkeley has been ground zero for this entire technology, with contributions from others around the world. Secondly, the ramifications of this technology are so widespread that only a campus with broad excellence in all areas is adequate to engage the range of implications that this technology offers. UC Berkeley Library

Though the authors note that science involves both competition and collaboration, they avoid discussion of the myriad conflicts that exist in this exciting new fieldan absence that makes the rosy picture presented in this otherwise excellent book just a bit too unbelievable. Publishers Weekly

The larger purpose of A Crack in Creation, clearly, is to show that Doudna is the true hero of CRISPR. And ultimately, despite the book’s flaws, I’m convinced. Nominators and the Nobel Committee will need to read this book. But CRISPR binge-watchers like me still await a truly satisfying account one that is insightful, candid and contextualized. Nature

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McCaskey grad writes new book on CRISPR and genome engineering – LancasterOnline

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