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A Crack in Creation

Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution
Narrated by: Erin Bennett
Length: 9 hrs and 22 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Biology
4.5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A trailblazing biologist grapples with her role in the biggest scientific discovery of our era: a cheap, easy way of rewriting genetic code, with nearly limitless promise and peril.

Not since the atomic bomb has a technology so alarmed its inventors that they warned the world about its use. Not, that is, until the spring of 2015, when biologist Jennifer Doudna called for a worldwide moratorium on the use of the new gene-editing tool CRISPR - a revolutionary new technology that she helped create - to make heritable changes in human embryos. The cheapest, simplest, most effective way of manipulating DNA ever known, CRISPR may well give us the cure to HIV, genetic diseases, and some cancers and will help address the world's hunger crisis. Yet even the tiniest changes to DNA could have myriad unforeseeable consequences - to say nothing of the ethical and societal repercussions of intentionally mutating embryos to create "better" humans. Writing with fellow researcher Samuel Sternberg, Doudna shares the thrilling story of her discovery and passionately argues that enormous responsibility comes with the ability to rewrite the code of life. With CRISPR, she shows, we have effectively taken control of evolution. What will we do with this unfathomable power?

©2017 Jennifer A. Doudna and Samuel H. Sternberg (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

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Excellent, informative book.

I seldom write reviews but I have to for this one. Great book, fascinating actually. Great narrator and written in a manner Joe Average (i.e. myself) can understand.

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Simply a remarkable book

I simply loved this book. Have not read a more comprehensive coverage and heard a more authoritative review of gene editing than this.

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Overall very interesting

Some repitition but overall a fascinating overview, would have been good to touch on some of the work being done at competing universities

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  • DC Mike
  • 01-09-2017

An easily digestible intro to the future...

Maybe it was driven by my personal curiosity but I found this to be an excellent intro to a topic that I've only encountered in exaggerated news clips or poorly written internet blog ramblings.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Laura
  • 02-09-2017

Compelling and eye opening!

I listened to a podcast on Crispr/Cas9 a few years ago. I wanted to build a greater understand if the technology. It's well written & designed for the non-scientist although I was grateful I paid attention in high school biology.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Jacob W. Bitton
  • 14-12-2018

Bland but interesting subject

It is both an important and interesting subject that we all need to be educated about. But the book seems like a bit too much about the writer. I can't keep from thinking that a lot of what is depicted as thoughts and dilemmas that seem serious were dramatized or boosted for the sake of having a good story - but thats probably me, not being able to trust the good in people. It just seems fake. And i'm not that better educated after listening to the book, Maybe a second listen will make me understand more.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • JM
  • 28-01-2018

Timely thoughts on gene engineering and bioethics

This well-written account gives a first-hand account the thrill of serendipitous scientific discovery as well as the shock of realizing one has let a genie out of the bottle. There is no turning back now that CRISPR in it's many forms exists and is relatively cheap. This book also provides the basic details and perspectives of an important bioethics conversation our global societies must have.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-12-2017

Must Read!

for someone in the medical field with huge curiosity for tech and its impact in the future (and present) of our world, a crack in creation has fulfilled my expectations and sparked a big interest in the field of gene editing.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Philomath
  • 17-06-2017

In to the abyss we ascend, a scary future

Would you listen to A Crack in Creation again? Why?

Probably not

Who was your favorite character and why?

n/a

What about Erin Bennett’s performance did you like?

Good

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The whole idea shook me not just moved me

Any additional comments?

This book is a must read for everyone. Humanity is on the cusp of changing itself forever and most don't even know it.

I will ignore the mistakes and unintended consequences of the fascinating CRISPR technology, which are scarier and more prevalent than any technology humans have ever created, and let's pretend everything goes as planned, a highly unlikely scenario.

CRISPR technology is basically the editing of genes with what appears to be the at most accuracy, and it is easier and cheaper than pretty much any other important technology man has recently created.

Creating a mouse that glows in the dark, a pig that is the size of a pet dog, a fish which grows legs are things that have already been achieved. Eliminating heritable disease will be next without a doubt, and what after that? Forget a pretty blue eyed child, or a tall muscular athlete, which I'm sure is coming to a theatre next to you soon.

Let's use our imagination, a larger brain, more memory, more stamina, less sleep, high IQ, a human that has gills and can breath underwater and go down the near endless list of living DNA and pick your choice.

At first glance I think, let this not happen, STOP it right now, then I realise the cat is out of the bag, Pandora's box has been opened. It is the ultimate weapon for domination that has all the hallmarks of Eugenics on steroids.

To quote Steven Pinker let's hope "the better nature of our angels" evolves quickly enough to create future humans with compassion and tolerance. The author, probably a great scientist, is an optimist. I truly hope she's right, otherwise this could be a good explanation to Fermi's Paradox. This could potentially be the last mistake humankind makes. Since the next one if we are lucky will be made by an edited human animal that will need a new name.

Fascinating, incredible and scary science, and not necessarily in this order. Highly recommended for those who want to be spooked.

31 of 38 people found this review helpful

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  • S.Knox
  • 12-01-2018

Interesting subject matter but not much meat.

The subject is fascinating and the behind the scenes look at the developments leading up to Crispr were very interesting. Most of the book reads like a Nobel application, carefully acknowledging the contributions of others while preserving the authors preeminent role.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • A. J. Dessler
  • 20-01-2018

A God like power

Describes research, promise, and dangers of human modifications of DNA. Extremely well written and great narration.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Dale
  • 10-10-2017

Need an advanced science degree

Very important information is contained in the book. But even with my advanced degree in science, I found the book hard to follow at times. Covered the political side well. Brought me up to day in being able to manipulate our DNA. Somewhere down the line gene editing will be a major step in treating disease. Gene editing will lead to significant cultural shifts. How soon and the nature of the cultural shifts, hard to say and not speculated in this book. The authors recommends going slow with this technology.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • JMcD
  • 08-09-2017

a must read

wow... so glad you wrote this (and so glad I read it). thank you on so many levels

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Craig
  • 05-11-2017

Outstanding Science !

Whilst the science of CRISPR will change everything....and I mean everything, this book is superb at putting the case for both the technical issues and the societal.

One of the best books I have read in a long time!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • M. Griffiths
  • 15-08-2017

Gene editing introduction

From the horse's mouth, this book runs thru the discovery of truly transformational biology. Basic concepts are well explained for the uninitiated and the story is both incredibly important and interesting. The author's presentation of her work was not unlikeable and seemed fair - she has been accused of claiming all the credit.
Why not 5 stars? It is a little repetitive and an accompanying pdf is invaluable for this type of book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Allan Paterson
  • 28-04-2019

Clear and informative

I was concerned that the biology within this would have been too complex to understand and whilst I don't think for one second I fully understood each point overall this helped me much better understand this amazing break through and the potential it has for us as a species. Enjoyable and well worth a listen.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-11-2018

better science than story

Jennifer is clearly a better scientist than storyteller. some sections, specially the future prospects look overly extended