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The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race

The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race

Written by Walter Isaacson

Narrated by Kathe Mazur


The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race

Written by Walter Isaacson

Narrated by Kathe Mazur

ratings:
4.5/5 (108 ratings)
Length:
16 hours
Released:
Mar 9, 2021
ISBN:
9781797117058
Format:
Audiobook

Editor's Note

Cracking the DNA code…

Superstar science and tech biographer Walter Isaacson (“Steve Jobs,” “Leonardo da Vinci,” “Einstein”) is back with a profile of the woman who revolutionized modern medicine by cracking the DNA code. Get to know Nobel Prize-winning scientist Jennifer Doudna, from her early days as a budding scientist to her pioneering work creating CRISPR, the tool that allows us to edit genes. This is a fascinating look at how Doudna unlocked the ability for human-made medical miracles and continues to grapple with the resulting moral issues.

Description

The bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs returns with a gripping account of how Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues launched a revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, fend off viruses, and have healthier babies.

When Jennifer Doudna was in sixth grade, she came home one day to find that her dad had left a paperback titled The Double Helix on her bed. She put it aside, thinking it was one of those detective tales she loved. When she read it on a rainy Saturday, she discovered she was right, in a way. As she sped through the pages, she became enthralled by the intense drama behind the competition to discover the code of life. Even though her high school counselor told her girls didn’t become scientists, she decided she would.

Driven by a passion to understand how nature works and to turn discoveries into inventions, she would help to make what the book’s author, James Watson, told her was the most important biological advance since his co-discovery of the structure of DNA. She and her collaborators turned a curiosity ​of nature into an invention that will transform the human race: an easy-to-use tool that can edit DNA. Known as CRISPR, it opened a brave new world of medical miracles and moral questions.

The development of CRISPR and the race to create vaccines for coronavirus will hasten our transition to the next great innovation revolution. The past half-century has been a digital age, based on the microchip, computer, and internet. Now we are entering a life-science revolution. Children who study digital coding will be joined by those who study genetic code.

Should we use our new evolution-hacking powers to make us less susceptible to viruses? What a wonderful boon that would be! And what about preventing depression? Hmmm…Should we allow parents, if they can afford it, to enhance the height or muscles or IQ of their kids?

After helping to discover CRISPR, Doudna became a leader in wrestling with these moral issues and, with her collaborator Emmanuelle Charpentier, won the Nobel Prize in 2020. Her story is a thrilling detective tale that involves the most profound wonders of nature, from the origins of life to the future of our species.
Released:
Mar 9, 2021
ISBN:
9781797117058
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Walter Isaacson, a professor of history at Tulane, has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chair of CNN, and editor of Time. He is the author of Leonardo da Vinci; The Innovators; Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography, and the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. Visit him at Isaacson.Tulane.edu.


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4.7
108 ratings / 5 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Great explanation of intersection of basic science with everyday problems and their solutions
  • (5/5)
    Fascinating information! Very complicated material made very understandable. People were fascinating
  • (5/5)
    Walter Isaacson did it again, opening up another daunting realm, this time microbiology. The book delves into crucial and timely issues confronting nothing less than the future of the human species. In this compelling account, Isaacson poses the questions, laying out the slippery slope we find ourselves in. What are the answers? TBD.
  • (5/5)
    Fascinating and relevant. Science that reads like a mystery story.
  • (5/5)
    Incredibly exciting, incredibly inspiring, incredibly frightening, and surreally current history all rolled up in the talent of one of America’s great storytellers.