Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars Life – forwards and backwards, 15 Jun 2014
This review is from: Creation: The Origin of Life / The Future of Life (Paperback)
I enjoyed this book - actually two books, one looking back at how life came to be, and the other ahead into the potentially exciting (near) future of synthetic biology. The latter arises inescapably out of the former, of course, and is a measure of how far scientists’ understanding of cell biology, the genome and the workings of RNA/DNA have advanced in recent decades. You can start reading at either end, and I began by looking back at how the discoveries of Leuwenhoek, Darwin, Mendel, Crick, Watson and many others have advanced our knowledge of what life is, how living organisms ‘work’ and replicate, and where life might have come from. Rutherford writes really well, and with wit, dropping in a reference to David Bowie’s ‘Life on Mars’, for example, while writing about the search for signs of life on other planets. The ‘forward look’ was equally fascinating, with some great examples of current cutting-edge work - one example is a project to produce artificially the cytokines that would protect astronauts against the high levels of radiation experienced in space travel. I could have done with more exploration of some of the ethical issues that surround this topic, GMOs being a case in point – I felt Rutherford was a bit journalistically sketchy on the opposition to them. But this is very much an introduction to the topic, and the author does provide quite a few bibliographical references for those wanting to follow up particular points.
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4.0 out of 5 stars (35 customer reviews)
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Jeremy Bevan
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Location: West Midlands, UK

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