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Publisher's Summary

The best-selling author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs returns with a gripping account of how the pioneering scientist Jennifer Doudna, along with her colleagues and rivals, launched a revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, fend off viruses, and enhance our children.

An Audie Award 2022 Finalist

In the spring of 2012, the Berkeley biochemist Jennifer Doudna and her collaborators turned a curiosity of nature into an invention that will transform the future of the human race: an easy-to-use tool that can edit DNA. Known as CRISPR, it opened a brave new world of medical miracles and moral questions. It has already been deployed to cure deadly diseases, fight the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, and make inheritable changes in the genes of babies.

The development of CRISPR and the war against coronavirus will hasten our transition to the next great innovation revolution. The past half-century has been an information-technology era, based on the microchip, the computer, and the internet. Now we are entering an even more momentous era, a life-science revolution. Children who study digital coding will be surpassed by those who study the code of life.

Should we use our new evolution-hacking powers to make us less susceptible to viruses and eliminate dreaded disorders? What a wonderful boon that would be! Right? And what about preventing congenital deafness or blindness? Or being very short? Or being depressed? Hmmm....how should we think about that? Should we allow parents, if they can afford it, to enhance the IQ or height or memory or muscles of their kids?

After helping to discover CRISPR, Doudna became a leader in wrestling with these moral and policy issues. Her life story illustrates that the key to innovation is connecting basic science to our everyday lives - moving discoveries from our labs to our bedsides - in ways that respect our moral values. It’s a thrilling detective tale that involves the most profound wonders of nature, from the origins of life to the future of our species.
 

©2021 Walter Isaacson (P)2021 Simon & Schuster Audio

What listeners say about The Code Breaker

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highlights a conversation that society has to have

Genetic engineering is one of the huge questions we need as a society to think about.
The coronavirus and the Vaccines produced to fight it have pushed CRSPR right into the front of all technology.

Close to half the human population will be genetically modified by these vaccines.

This book will hopefully continue society asking the right questions about the future of rhe human species and the role of generically modifying people.

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Wow

This was awesome to get a bigger understanding behind Covid vaccines and RNA. Such a good read! Top 3 book of the year

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Enjoyed! Challenged!

I thoroughly enjoyed this read. It certainly challenges your thoughts on gene editing, what is to come in the research space for human disease… we need to consider how we best navigate these findings as a human race. Very thought provoking!

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Passionate and accurate

Most important book of 2021. you will fall in love with science and humanity.

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Great story, meticulously presented.

This is Isaacson near his best. The subject is profoundly important, and the process of discovery again illustrates how brilliance, persistence and and a good measure of luck (in part borne out of the passion) are vital in moving forward. While some of the detail is a little tedious at times, it is a great listen. Have thoroughly enjoyed all of Isaacson's books from Steve Jobs on, and recommend them all without reservation. Jennifer Doudna is an outstanding leader, and significant contributor to the progress of science.

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Well presented at a reasonable pace

A good ballance of scientific facts, emotional moments, historical events and personal opinions. Well prensented by narrators.

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By far the best book I have ever listened

What a wonderful, insightful and foresightful book! Listening for the second time now. The first time around, David Sanchez words made me cried uncontrollably regarding his sickle cell anaemia disease. No other books does this to me. Nature is truly beautiful and thank you for bringing this beautiful book.

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