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Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves Hardcover – 2 Oct 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (2 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465021751
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465021758
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 16.5 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 155,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

Bold and provocative... Church and Regis offer a behind-the-scenes look at synthetic biology, a rapidly emerging field that is reprogramming the genetic code to create organisms and functions not found in nature. Regenesis tells of recent advances that may soon yield endless supplies of renewable energy, increased longevity and the return of long-extinct species. --New Scientist

A thoughtful introduction to one of the great frontiers of science, one with the promise of literally saving the world. George Church is one of the most brilliant scientists in the world, and in collaboration with Ed Regis he has written a book that is engaging, readable, and thoroughly fascinating. --Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University and author of How The Mind Works and The Better Angels of Our Nature

Literally reinventing nature could provide solutions to intractable problems with the energy supply, global warming, and human health. In Regenesis, George Church, a pioneer and pre-eminent force in promoting our ability to read DNA sequence, now guides us to the future: writing DNA sequence. Teaming up with Ed Regis, Church provides a mind-bending, tour de force account of how this seventh industrial revolution will take hold, and how ultimately the survival of our planet and the human species may rely upon rewriting the code of life. An enthralling journey into the future with truly profound implications that should not be missed. --Eric Topol, Professor of Genomics, The Scripps Research Institute and author of The Creative Destruction of Medicine

Book Description

"Bold and provocative... Regenesis tells of recent advances that may soon yield endless supplies of renewable energy, increased longevity and the return of long-extinct species."-New Scientist --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Format: Hardcover
*A full executive summary of this book is available at newbooksinbrief dot com.

DNA was only discovered about a century ago, and it's structure remained a mystery until about half a century ago, but since this time our knowledge and understanding of DNA has grown immensely (indeed exponentially). What's more, this understanding has evolved to include not just an understanding of how DNA works, but also how it can be manipulated to help advance our ends. The most glaring example here is the phenomenon of genetically modified food. Though not without controversy initially (and some fringe opposition that lives on to this day), it is fair to say that genetically modified food was one of the major scientific advances of the 20th century. Over and above this, our understanding of DNA appeared to reach its most impressive manifestation with the successful sequencing of the human genome in the year 2000.

For the genetics professor and pioneering genetic engineer George Church, however, genetically modified food and the Human Genome Project are but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the potential of genomics. Indeed, since the year 2005, the exponential growth rate in our ability to read and write DNA has increased from 1.5-fold per year (a rate that matches Moore's law), to the incredible rate of 10-fold per year (p. 243). This explosion in scientific and technological progress has resulted in dramatic advancements in the areas of biochemicals, biomaterials, biofuels and biomedicine. What's more, advancements in these technologies are but in their incipient stage, and the future of genomics promises to dwarf these initial achievements.
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Format: Hardcover
As somebody that has slightly more synthetic biology knowledge than the lay person, I found this hard to read. Whilst Church is clearly a brilliant man, a lot of the radical predictions he makes here are further beyond reach than they are laid out to be. As somebody enthusiastic about synbio, I worry that this sort of book will scare people and add further fuel to the fire of those who are already against the relatively modest (but beautiful) research that is currently carried out. I couldn't finish it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent book; pretty detailed but also pretty readable; lots of interesting and new ideas; quite a few interesting side remarks that then made me go and dig more deeply on the net. It covers lots of detail about the biology/chemistry and also has sections on the history of the industry.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You know a book that you want to like, but you just can't get into it. The concept of Regenesis really appealed to me, and I really wanted to like it.

It started well, and the description of the advancements we made and technology available is truly amazing. But the fact remains I found it a tough, dare I say tedious, read and the truth is I nodded off while reading it.

This is not a direct criticism of the book, just to forewarn that it is not as mainstream reading as some may desire.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
excellent
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