Human Genetic Engineering: A Guide for Activists, Skeptics …

Posted: September 20, 2016 at 7:08 pm

Pete Shanks has written a terrific introduction to human genetic engineering and the fraught issues it raises. The basic question he takes on: How do we get what's good out of human biotechnology, but make sure we don't wake up one morning and find ourselves in GATTACA?

"Guide to Human Genetic Engineering" covers the cloning of people and pets, "transhumanism," eugenics, sex selection, designer babies, gene doping, stem cells, and more. It welcomes beneficial uses of biotechnology, but cuts through the techno-boosterism that characterizes far too much of the current public discussion of these issues.

The book's appearance is engaging, with a table or pull quote or something else visually interesting on almost every page. The writing is top-notch -- entertaining, even funny and intermittently irreverent, but without ever losing sight of the seriousness and importance of the subject matter. The author clearly explains the technical basics, and goes beneath the surface of the political and social controversies, but not so deep as to lose "perplexed" or simply curious readers. He makes it clear what he thinks, but it's obvious that he respects what others think too.

I recommend this book very highly.

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