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Creation: How Science is Reinventing Life Itself
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Penguin Publishing Group 2013
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Description
What is life? Humans have been asking this question for thou­sands of years. But as technology has advanced and our understanding of biology has deepened, the answer has evolved. For decades, scientists have been exploring the limits of nature by modifying and manipulating DNA, cells and whole organisms to create new ones that could never have existed on their own. In Creation, science writer Adam Rutherford explains how we are now radically exceeding the boundaries of evolution and engineering entirely novel creatures—from goats that produce spider silk in their milk to bacteria that excrete diesel to genetic circuits that identify and destroy cancer cells. As strange as some of these creations may sound, this new, synthetic biology is helping scientists develop radical solutions to some of the world's most pressing crises—from food shortages to pandemic disease to climate change—and is paving the way for inventions once relegated to science fiction. Meanwhile, these advances are shedding new light on the biggest mystery of all—how did life begin? We know that every creature on Earth came from a single cell, sparked into existence four billion years ago. And as we come closer and closer to understanding the ancient root that connects all living things, we may finally be able to achieve a second genesis—the creation of new life where none existed before. Creation takes us on a journey four billion years in the making—from the very first cell to the ground-breaking biological inventions that will shape the future of our planet.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
06/13/2013
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781101622629
ASIN:
B00AVA4N3O
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APA Citation (style guide)

Adam Rutherford. (2013). Creation: How Science is Reinventing Life Itself. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Adam Rutherford. 2013. Creation: How Science Is Reinventing Life Itself. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Adam Rutherford, Creation: How Science Is Reinventing Life Itself. Penguin Publishing Group, 2013.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Adam Rutherford. Creation: How Science Is Reinventing Life Itself. Penguin Publishing Group, 2013. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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fullDescription
What is life?

Humans have been asking this question for thou­sands of years. But as technology has advanced and our understanding of biology has deepened, the answer has evolved. For decades, scientists have been exploring the limits of nature by modifying and manipulating DNA, cells and whole organisms to create new ones that could never have existed on their own.

In Creation, science writer Adam Rutherford explains how we are now radically exceeding the boundaries of evolution and engineering entirely novel creatures—from goats that produce spider silk in their milk to bacteria that excrete diesel to genetic circuits that identify and destroy cancer cells. As strange as some of these creations may sound, this new, synthetic biology is helping scientists develop radical solutions to some of the world's most pressing crises—from food shortages to pandemic disease to climate change—and is paving the way for inventions once relegated to science fiction.

Meanwhile, these advances are shedding new light on the biggest mystery of all—how did life begin? We know that every creature on Earth came from a single cell, sparked into existence four billion years ago. And as we come closer and closer to understanding the ancient root that connects all living things, we may finally be able to achieve a second genesis—the creation of new life where none existed before.

Creation takes us on a journey four billion years in the making—from the very first cell to the ground-breaking biological inventions that will shape the future of our planet.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from April 15, 2013
        Combining superb science writing with a refreshing wit, Rutherford does an excellent job of bringing genomics and synthetic biology to life in this accessible overview of the past and future of the fields. In the first half, the Nature magazine editor describes what we know about cellular biology, while the second portion explores where and how we might apply our growing knowledge base in the future. He argues that the theory of evolution does not aim to explain the origin of life, but he also insists that in order to know where we’re going, we have to know where we’re from, and one of the best ways to do that is to trace evolution at the cellular level: “In every cell is a perfect unbroken chain that stretches inevitably back... to one single entity, which we call the Last Universal Common Ancestor.” His elucidations of this concept and others are well-crafted and clear enough for lay readers to easily grasp his meaning. Most compellingly, he argues that increased biological research and experimentation might herald a shift that would rival the Industrial Revolution in terms of social change. There’s much to savor here—even in the footnotes. Agent: P.J. Mark, Janklow & Nesbit Associates.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        May 15, 2013
        The day is nearly here when scientists will create the first purely synthetic life. This prediction turns up regularly, but British science writer and Nature editor Rutherford insists that the time is ripe, and he makes his case with contagious enthusiasm. Following requirements of the genre, the author delivers a lucid history of the Earth and the appearance of life 3.8 billion years ago--so quickly after the planet's cooling that it may be a natural process. To give readers an idea of the daunting challenges that scientists face, Rutherford explains life's processes: DNA, an immense helical molecule in every cell's nucleus, provides information in the form of genes, small triplets of molecules on the helix; RNA copies the information; cell structures called ribosomes make proteins from the RNA template. Other structures, called mitochondria, provide energy. A protective membrane surrounds every cell, separating it from the world outside. This sounds complex, but, provided scientists manipulate DNA properly, startling things happen, and Rutherford devotes the second half of his book to their efforts. In 2010 researchers synthesized all 517 genes of a tiny bacteria, inserted them into a cell, and they worked. Goats given a certain spider gene produce milk filled with spider silk. Readers may roll their eyes to learn of cells programmed to seek out and kill cancers (another claim that appears regularly), but they will be impressed by bacteria that can act as a photographic film, consume plastic waste or manufacture bricks. While it is unlikely that scientists will synthesize a human in the near future, genuinely amazing biology is in the works, and Rutherford delivers a fascinating overview.

        COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from June 1, 2013
        The first part of this book relates what's been learned about the origin of life on earth; the second, what's being done to modify existing life-forms and produce new ones. Though both are engaging, many may find the first more dazzling. Rutherford starts small, discussing the cell and how it is begotten, not created but ultimately taking in genetics and DNA as well as the earth's physical history before life emerged from a microscopic chamber at the bottom of the sea, four million years ago. The second part lacks the first's sweeping grandeur, being set in a much narrower time frame, the 30 years bioengineering has been with us. That's long enough, however, to have seen gene-splicing give way to synthetic biology at the field's cutting-edge as the spider-goat and biofuels have been supplanted in novelty by the successful copying by RNA of a molecule formed by swapping in a different amino acid for one of the four naturally found in the DNA sequence, which ultimately suggests a different basis for life, one that is created, not begotten by intelligent (human) design. Creation is the first book by this geneticist-journalist with two well-received BBC4 series, The Gene Code and The Cell, to his credit. May it augur many more top-drawer science books by Rutherford.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription
What is life?

Humans have been asking this question for thou­sands of years. But as technology has advanced and our understanding of biology has deepened, the answer has evolved. For decades, scientists have been exploring the limits of nature by modifying and manipulating DNA, cells and whole organisms to create new ones that could never have existed on their own.

In Creation, science writer Adam Rutherford explains how we are now radically exceeding the boundaries of evolution and engineering entirely novel creatures—from goats that produce spider silk in their milk to bacteria that excrete diesel to genetic circuits that identify and destroy cancer cells. As strange as some of these creations may sound, this new, synthetic biology is helping scientists develop radical solutions to some of the world's most pressing crises—from food shortages to pandemic disease to climate change—and is paving the way for inventions once...
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