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The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene…

The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the… (vuoden 2021 painos)

– tekijä: Walter Isaacson (Autor)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
4612342,074 (4.24)53
Teoksen nimi:The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race
Kirjailijat:Walter Isaacson (Autor)
Info:Simon & Schuster (2021), 560 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):


The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race (tekijä: Walter Isaacson)


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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 23) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Although I mostly read fiction, I have been aware of Walter Isaacson and his portrayals of people like Einstein, and Steve Jobs among others. A friend in a book club is reading this so I thought I would give it a try. It is almost 500 pages and in parts very technical but ultimately the big picture of the book is an excellent portrayal of the people involved with the development of the gene editing tool CRISPR. This tool has opened up the world of gene editing and with the positive and negative as to how this tool can be used. It focuses around Jennifer Doudna but it brings many people involved in biotech and with the history of discoveries in DNA etc. Isaacson humanizes the characters is this drama. It does get technical but for me it give me an overview that I didn't have. Also the development of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines owe their breakthrough vaccine process to developments in gene editing. The books deals with ethical issues that we face as we begin to use gene editing as we try to eliminate diseases such as Huntingtons and Sickle Cell anemia. However was also have to deal with issue of enhancements and how that can effect natural selection as we move forward. As we have seen with all great inventions such as the computer, internet, etc. there is always the probability of bad actors entering into the field. Ultimately, the book does a great job of bringing up the big issues facing us as we become more proficient in being able to eliminate and enhance the human genes. Will it always be positive? ( )
  nivramkoorb | Dec 5, 2021 |
[Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race] by [[Walter Isaacson]]

This book seemed obviously rushed to press. Isaacson took a fascinating subject, the science behind gene editing using discoveries made while studying RNA, and makes the science secondary to a juvenile telling of the in-fighting between the scientists as they raced to publish their findings first. The human story becomes a string of short bios and the language was so simplistic that I checked several times to see if I'd mistakenly downloaded the youth version on my kindle.

This is too bad, because it's a fascinating topic, and Isaacson certainly could have included a focus on the scientists in addition to describing the science, but it just wasn't executed well. I would have been thrilled to read a good biography of a woman scientist, but even Jennifer Doudna, who gets a nod in the title, doesn't get a deep enough attention in the book to satisfy my curiosity.

I was hoping for a science book in the vein of [The Gene] by [[Siddhartha Mukherjee]] and this comes no where close. I felt this was rushed to publish because the science was used in creating the mRNA covid vaccines.

The book gets a lot of high ratings on LT and elsewhere, but I didn't see it.

Original publication date: 2021
Author’s nationality: American
Original language: English
Length: 552 pages
Rating: 2 stars
Format/where I acquired the book: library kindle book
Why I read this: interested in the topic ( )
  japaul22 | Nov 12, 2021 |
Excellent narrator.

Wow, I didn't like this book nearly as much as others, apparently. Or maybe it's just I don't like how human pettiness and emotions ruin everything. The book was a lot of relationship description and that could have been shorter in my one-persons opinion. I just don't care to know about their human squabbles and this book had too much of it. The science part, even the squabbles and lawsuits over the codes/dna/really etc... was interesting and easy to understand for a lay person like me. But it seemed to take on too much, veered into different science topics and I actually couldn't finish the book because the last chapter(s) seemed to go off into yet another science area.

So... I guess, recommend for those that like a lot of personal drama with their discoveries? Just not me ( )
  marshapetry | Nov 9, 2021 |
Got a bit lost, not so much in the science (which I might expect) but in the academic wrangles. Ha e heard radio programmes that make the science of CRISP-R clearer. ( )
  vguy | Oct 31, 2021 |
This is probably one of the most important science – or even nonfiction books in toto – that I have ever read.

It’s the biography of Nobel winning scientist Jennifer Doudna, but it’s also the story of CRISPR a revolutionary system that now takes human genome editing out of the realm of science fiction and into reality.

Since the beginning of bacterial genomic sequencing decades ago, scientists saw that bacterial DNA has repeating sections. These were a puzzle and were often theorized to be repeats of important genes or merely leftover nonsense sequences to provide spacing between genes.

But the utterly astounding truth was that these repeats were being used by bacteria to remember and destroy viruses that had previously attacked them. Bacteria - single celled organisms without a nucleus - had devised a way of remembering and fending off attackers and created the elegant beginnings of an immune system.

These became known as CRISPR - Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats.

This discovery was first used to fend off viruses that attacked valuable bacterial yogurt cultures.

But as research progressed, scientists realized that CRISPR provided a tool that could target specific genes in any species.

Combined with genes that would make the CRISPR tools pass through the human nucleus, human DNA itself could be targeted and changed.

This was demonstrated in somatic cells – cells that circulate and replicate but would not have their changed DNA passed on to offspring of the treated patient. It was a cure for sickle cell anemia – but at a price tag of over a million dollars per patient.

There was, however, a line that researchers didn’t want to cross – making changes in germline cells; changes to these cells in the very early developments of embryos would ensure that the offspring of the patients would also have the changes.

And then, a Chinese researcher, He Jiankui, crossed that line. He performed in vitro fertilization and then edited the genomes of the embryos. The edited targeted gene, CCR5, codes for a protein that HIV uses to enter cells. The resulting twin girls would no longer succumb to the virus that causes AIDS. It was done imperfectly; one twin only had the genetic change on one of her two chromosomes. Both girls’ bodies had a mosaic of immune and non-immune cells suggesting it was done at a slightly too late stage of embryonic development.

But the genie was out of the bottle – it had been demonstrated that the human genome was able to be freed of disease causing genes and enhanced with genes that humans see as more desirable.

All of this invokes a huge number of moral and ethical questions. Gene editing has passed from the age of science fiction and into reality. There is now a way to make targeted changes to rewrite the human genome. It’s no longer ‘Could we?’ but ‘should we?’ and even “How can we possibly prevent the next steps”? It may not even be possible to regulate this new form of genetic engineering which could create a form of ‘genetic engineering tourism’ as cash rich patients seek relatively simple procedures in cash strapped countries.

Unfortunately, it also opened the door to a set of CRISPR biological weapons which would literally edit human DNA – followed closely by an industry of anti-CRSPR counter weapons to offset such attacks.

Then came the Corona Virus – an RNA virus that was sweeping through humanity. A large consortium of scientists working on various aspects of CRISPR throughout many nations, gathered together via remote technology to brainstorm how CRISPR could effectively help. CRISPR knowledge had given them many new tools to understand and work with viral mRNA.

Their first focus was using CRISPR tools for testing for the Covid-19 gene presence in human samples.

A second question became using the RNA tools to deliver the critical portion of the virus’s protein to the nuclei of patients’ cells. As viral RNA does, this portion of the viral mRNA would temporarily take over the hosts’s DNA to produce the spike protein – and alert the host’s cells that an intruder needed to be eliminated. Enter the highly successful mRNA vaccines.

Ongoing CRISPR investigations may produce more therapeutics to fight the virus in patients.

And of course, there’s the question of whether the human genome could (or even should) be rewritten to block Covid and other Corona viruses from entering the cell at all.

Read this book. The door of the future has been opened and this is the sweeping technology that will be there.

If you have a background in science or genetics, the first section of this 500 page book will read like a detective novel. If you have less background and find this first section overwhelming, skim through or skip it and go onwards. You’ll be glad you did. ( )
1 ääni streamsong | Oct 1, 2021 |
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