Chromatographia (2018) 81:961 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10337-018-3478-4 BOOK RE VIE W Jennifer A. Dounda and Samuel H. Steinberg: A Crack in Creation—The New Power to Control Evolution Ken Jones © Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018 no trace of the genome once the gene editing process is com- plete. Another unusual factor is cost. Any conventionally Bibliography equipped biological laboratory with the necessary exper- A Crack in Creation – TheNew tise can research the area at a starting cost of about $2000. Power to Control Evolution Consequently, CRISPR experimentation is growing expo- Jennifer A. Dounda, Samuel H. Steinberg nentially, mostly in plant and animal research, but not all Boldley Head, London, UK, 2017, pp 304 necessarily having wholly acceptable targets. In 2015, Prof. ISBN 978-1-8479-2381-3 Dounda convened “The IGI Forum on Bioethics”, with the GBP 20.00 objective of creating and seeking a global consensus to pre- vent any misuse of this powerful new technique. The basic fear remains that a maverick scientist, or very much worse a maverick state, will attempt to exploit this technology to create an unprincipled and immoral advantage, whether in It is a rare privilege to read a book that discloses not only humans, plants, animals, or the microbiological world. the history of a major scientific breakthrough, but also the Although relatively few of the gene locations that cause thought processes of the team of scientists that eventually more than 4000 known hereditary diseases have been deter- led to its discovery. Equally impressive is the modest con- mined, animal trials are showing the way forward. For exam- fession of the lead discoverer, where she admits her comfort ple, mouse models have demonstrated that the CRISPR-Cas9 zone is “the edge of a Petri dish”. That CRISPR (Clustered plasmid is wholly effective in mitigating the major symptoms Regularly Interspaced Short Palidromic Repeats) is a very of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). Breakthroughs strong candidate to win the next Nobel in Chemistry or Phys- on several more hereditary diseases are anticipated shortly. iology or Medicine cannot be doubted. In all probabilities, The earliest CRISPR applications to emerge are likely to it will also be the discovery of this century, if only because be those associated with plants, for example, resistance to it has universal application to all living cells. drought and diseases, followed closely by insect modifica - Although the DNA structure was elucidated in 1953, a tion, where elimination of the malaria-causative plasmodium further 50 years elapsed before the Human Genome Pro- parasite in mosquitoes is already well advanced. ject provided not only the exact positioning of the 3.7 bil- This exceedingly well written book describes a tech- lion individual ‘letters’ that make up the code, but also the nology of earth-shaking implication. Whilst a fascinating methodology to map the defects in the genes that cause read for technologists, there is an additional objective, to hereditary diseases. Some 10 years later, logic and inspira- bring a better understanding of the technology to a non- tional tenacity have resulted in the most powerful tool ever scientific audience. The authors have supplemented the text thought possible, one that manipulates the DNA code in with ample diagrams to clarify what are often difficult-to- infinite ways. It is, however, a technology, so powerful it also understand concepts. Ten million copies of Steven Hawk- provides opportunities for mischief, especially since there is ins’s book “A Brief History of Time” were sold. This book will have far more impact, and is far more understandable. Buy, absorb, debate, and lobby, with the objective of creat- * Ken Jones ing legislation that prevents abuse. firstname.lastname@example.org Knutsford, UK Vol.:(0123456789) 1 3
Chromatographia – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 25, 2018
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