In this update to the very popular first edition of the same name, skilled science popularizer Eric Grace helps readers understand what biotechnology is and what implications it holds for all of us.
Following on the heels of the success of the first edition, this thoroughly updated version offers an in-depth and accessible review of the basics of biotechnology. Accomplished science communicator Eric Grace focuses on the ethical implications involved, the wide range of public opinions both at home and abroad, the role of the media in communicating a complicated science topic, and the formidable problems associated with patenting life itself. With an emphasis on medicine, agriculture, and the environment, Grace explores the promises and realities of biotechnology. He deals frankly with the fact that biotechnology is first and foremost a commercial activity, often driven by big business and directed by the bottom line. And as biotechnology is used more frequently in medical diagnosis and treatment, we are witness to significant setbacks and reversals, dimming hopes that were prevalent when the first edition was released.
But we are also witness to the burgeoning use of the technology in forensic science where DNA analysis has become commonplace in solving crimes. Likewise, DNA analysis has been a boon to studies of human history and evolution, revealing ancient details originally thought lost to us. At the same time, new uses for genetically altered bacteria are being discovered that help us clean up the environment by breaking down or sequestering toxic chemicals. While the public remains concerned about biotechnology, there is increasing awareness of the potential benefits. This updated edition of Biotechnology Unzipped helps put the many issues in perspective and provides answers to the most important questions.
"Grace makes his complex subject easy to digest..."
-- The New York Times Book Review
"This book would be a useful addition to the school library, as a valuable source of ideas about the possible impact of biotechnology on society."
-- SSR, March 1998
"Eric Grace tells the remarkable story of how a few basic discoveries blossomed into a powerful new tool that has revolutionized medicine, agriculture, and so many areas of our lives within just a few decades...a must read for anyone concerned about the impact of biotechnology on society."
-- CBC Radio's "Quirks and Quarks
"...an immensely readable book... A remarkable feature of the book is that it has been written in a completely non-technical language, making it easy for an average reader to be able to understand and enjoy this book. ... To summarize, a very useful book for all and sundry, especially those interested in knowing the impact of biotechnology in our day-to-day lives. Fully recommended to all."
-- Journal of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, July-December 2002
"[The author] has a great talent for bringing out in the reader a sense of awe of the beauty and elegance in seemingly mundane scientific concepts. At the same time, he is able to explain those concepts with extraordinary clarity. All in all, Biotechnology Upzipped makes for a lucid and balanced introduction to the complexities of biotechnology. I would recommend it to lay readers and undergraduates, who would benefit from reading it alongside a book written from a third world perspective..."
-- Science and Public Policy, October 1998
"The book is an excellent study... The author 'unzips' this topic in a style that sounds almost like science fiction. With a bit of the past and lots of the future, he transplants the 'genes' of information through examples that are easy to comprehend. ... The book is simple, straight and sound in its narration of facts. ... In short, the book is worth every penny."
-- Indian Express, February 2, 1999
"The author is a skilled popular science writer and in this book he has done his bit to help the reader grasp what biotechnology is and what sort of future it holds for humankind. ... The author has lucidly explained what biotechnology is all about and its practical applications. ... This well-written book will serve as an excellent introduction to the subject."
-- The Hindu, January 5, 1999
"Biotechnology Unzipped explains biotechnology simply and clearly, creating sufficient scientific and historical context so the reader understands its continuity with earlier scientific developments going back to the discovery of the cell...I look forward to using the book with students, colleagues, and friends. It's fascinating--and informative--reading."
-- Nina Fedoroff, Willaman Professor of Life Sciences and Director, Biotechnology Institute at The Pennsylvania State University
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