This isn t a book about the mechanics and science of gene editing There s one chapter on it, out of ten, and it doesn t get deep in the science.Instead this book is about the morals, ethics, legalities and challenges of the science being used for good or bad, and what the future may hold It enumerates through the plant and animal kingdom before reaching our own domain and then beyond.Worth saying that we all have a bias on this, and though the author tries to be balanced, you will likely get a feeling for where their not so unconscious bias rests on the soundness of the science, it s benefits versus its risks.Definitely a good and concise book to prime you for the massive change that is quietly happening now. A n excellent, brisk guide to what is likely to happen as opposed to the fantastically remote Los Angeles Review of Books The book provides a good overview of genetic editing and its social, scientific, legal, financial, philosophical and ethical ramifications However, the author does come across as somewhat idiosyncratic In Chapter 3 on the topic of population growth and ageing, very oddly she claims that two people result in there being 16 on the planet in just three generations, entirely ignoring the families that their children and grandchildren marry into On the subject of organ transplants, she rather coldly and tactlessly points out that fewer organ donors are available because fewer people are dying in motor accidents, without equating the lives saved on our roads with lives saved because of organ transplants, perhaps because one dead motorist s organs could save, on average, eight lives And, at the very end, rather out of the blue, she credits gene editing technology with the potential to bring about a equal world for all , almost as if mutated genes and diseases are the main cause of inequality, which, of course, they are not. I know a thing or two about this subject, and have read other books on it Nessa Carey is BY FAR the best The book is grounded and sensible, with the economy and simplicity of writing that comes of a really skilled science writer Carey deftly identifies key controversies with regard to regulation and policy, highlighting absurdities in existing frameworks and the failure of governments to respond to a momentous technology with immense potential for the amelioration of global challenges.She s also, as in all her books, so amusing and chatty that readers almost can t imagine that the subject is actually rather complicated.Highly recommended Really interesting book I particularly enjoyed the part about agriculture and the legal matters between the scientist discovering CRISPR. Nessa Carey has proved consistently effective in putting across the next generation as it were aspects of genetics that take as far beyond the selfish gene We ve had The Epigenetics Revolution and Junk DNA on the aspects of genetics where genes are switched on and off, and looking at the parts of DNA that don t code for genes Now, with Hacking the Code of Life, we come from the natural side to human intervention the ability to edit the genome and the implications of this ability.In the past we ve seen rather hysterical responses to gene editing, whether it s campaigns against genetically modified organisms that have prevented life saving developments and wider availability of food, or dramatic predictions of disaster Carey gives us a balanced picture She doesn t play down the risks but all technology comes with risk Use of fire might have been one of the greatest steps forward in human development, but it can also kill people We had to learn to control it and regulate it, and the same goes for gene editing.In this slim volume, Carey takes us through the mechanics of making modifications to the genome, from the early crude mechanisms to the remarkable precision of CRISPR which is where things really begin to take off for the future.The book covers medical applications, the potential transformation of agriculture surely it s time for the EU to get its act together on GM, which is very different now with these new technologies and let s face we ve been genetically modifying crops since the beginning of agriculture , animal applications and whether or not we should actively modify ourself, not just to deal with illnesses but to enhance the human species.All this is packed into a 160 page book excluding notes , which is a welcome relief after the tendency to produced vast, over written popular science titles This is the kind of book that should be issued to every politician and civil servant involved in these kind of processes as a background read short enough to have time to get through it, but detailed enough to really make the reader think and have a clear picture of what s involved CRISPR has been around for a little while now and we ve been lacking a concise book that covers its implications we ve got that now in this excellent title.