From the unprecedented speed at which COVID-19 vaccines were developed, to the biggest fraud case in biotech history, to a sci-fi story set in a post-apocalyptic city, here are seven books of biotechnology to consult this summer.
With record-breaking heat waves heralding the start of summer, there’s never been a better time to curl up with a book in the cool shade of a tree or sip cocktails by the pool. We’ve put together a list of biotechnology books that are sure to teach you something new about the history of biotechnology or raise some interesting questions about the future of mankind.
1. A Shot to Save the World: The Remarkable Race and Breakthrough Science Behind Covid-19 Vaccines
Author: Gregory Zuckermann
For decades, research into messenger RNA (m) therapies was considered scientific backwater, until the COVID-19 pandemic propelled the technology to medical darling status. In “A Shot to Save the World,” Wall Street Journal reporter Gregory Zuckerman tells us the story of the tenacious scientists and companies who laid the groundwork for COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. It first takes us back to the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, describing the significant scientific breakthroughs and corporate rivalries that made possible the development of a life-saving vaccine within months.
“Mice lie, monkeys cheat, and ferrets are weasels. – a popular aphorism among scientists.
2. The Genesis machine: our quest to rewrite life in the age of synthetic biology
Authors: Amy Webb and Andrew Hessel
With accelerating advances in gene editing, synthetic biology – a powerful tool that seeks to engineer life – is sure to fundamentally reshape our world. From what we eat and wear; how we grow food and develop medicine; and even dealing with the climate crisis and resource insecurity, the possibilities are endless. However, the risks associated with the manipulation of human, animal and plant life and the potential misuse for profit or political purposes warrant better and long-lasting regulation. In “The Genesis Machine,” futurist Amy Webb, founder and CEO of the Future Today Institute, and microbiologist and geneticist Andrew Hessel, co-founder of Humane Genomics, walk us through what’s on the horizon and address moral dilemmas and ethics to rethink life.
“A great transformation of life is taking place.”
3. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
Author: John Careyrou
Earlier this year, Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, was convicted of four counts of defrauding investors and faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. In “Bad Blood,” John Carreyou covers the rise and fall of Theranos, a multibillion-dollar biotech startup founded on a brilliant but unlikely idea: a medical device capable of performing the full gamut of lab tests. with a single drop of blood. Armed with a promise to revolutionize the medical industry and the “nickname of the next Steve Jobs”, Holmes managed to blind his investors for years by claiming that Theranos had a working device. But in reality, the company was performing blood tests using traditional methods and outsourcing lab work.
“Hypering your product to get funding while hiding your true progress and hoping reality will eventually catch up with the hype continues to be tolerated in the tech industry.”
4. The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, gene editing and the future of the human race
Author: Walter Isaacson
Despite being told by a high school counselor that girls don’t become scientists, Jennifer Doudna persisted. And in 2021, Doudna and his collaborator Emmanuelle Charpentier won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their pioneering work in CRISPR gene editing. In “The Code Breaker”, bestselling author Walter Isaacson gives a compelling biography of how Doudna and his collaborators – along with other members of the scientific community – contributed to the discovery of CRISPR: genetic scissors that paradigm shift and who can rewrite the code of life. . Because of its ease of use, CRISPR is poised to revolutionize the human race; however, this opens a Pandora’s box of ethical and moral dilemmas. How much of our genetic code should we be allowed to modify? And what implications will the rewriting of our DNA have for future generations if those who can access the technology are allowed to “enhance” their babies?
“At the end of the day, it’s the discoveries that last,” says Charpentier. “We are only passing through this planet for a short time. We do our job, then we leave and others take the job.
5. An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System: A Story in Four Lifetimes
Author: Matt Richtel
The immune system has evolved over millennia to fight an endless supply of threats while keeping us healthy. This is mediated by a delicate balancing act that can be easily disrupted by stress, nutrition or even excessive hygiene. In “An Elegant Defense,” author and New York Times journalist Matt Richtel weaves four stories of individual lives with cutting-edge science in an intimate exploration of the immune system. Richtel takes us on a guided tour from the Black Death to how current revolutions in immunotherapy are helping us fight countless diseases.
“There is no ultimate solution. There is no free lunch. If you cure cancer, you will have more cases of neurodegenerative diseases. If you cure a neurodegenerative disease, a major plague will come for people who are a hundred years old. There is no ultimate solution, and there shouldn’t be.
6. Do you believe in magic? : Vitamins, Supplements and All Things Natural: A Look Behind the Curtain
Author: Paul A. Offit
The vitamin and supplement industry brings in billions of dollars every year. However, science has consistently shown little benefit and that the placebo response plays an important role. In “Do you believe in magic? Medical expert Paul A. Offit delves into the loosely regulated alternative medicine industry, separating sense from nonsense and revealing hidden harmful side effects.
“There is no alternative medicine. There are only drugs that work and drugs that don’t.
Author: Jeff Vander Meer
In an unnamed post-apocalyptic town where a now-defunct biotechnology company called The Company was presided over, we follow Rachel – a GMO-collecting scavenger – who one day discovers a mysterious sea anemone-like creature she names Borne. . The city is teeming with chimeras from The Company’s abandoned genetic engineering experiments; against this backdrop, Rachel feeds the creature as the mystery of what Borne really is unfolds, drawing enemies from all sides.
“Am I a person? Borne asked me.
“Yes, you are a person,” I told him. “But as a person, you can also be a weapon.”