Synthetic biology is something I have been interested in for a very long time, so this book seemed like an ideal read for me. I found this a very easy read, covering the key aspects and I liked the balance between the possible benefits and consequences.
Synthetic biology is something I know not much about. So when I saw a book dedicated to the matter I just had to grab it and read it. Unfortunately, this wasn´t an easy read, it took me more than two months to drag through it. Here´s why.
Synthetic biology means altered life. We can modify cell functions and make it work to our advantage. This definition of mine is very much simplified, but the fact is that the possibility that a human being can be playing god is equally fascinating and mortifying. Human creativity has no limits, we now can not only make jet fuel using the produce of genetically engineered bacteria but also make entirely new bacteria. Yes, we are god now.
So the number of things we can do is truly overwhelming. The problem is... should we? Well, this is not a philosophical book.
The problem with this book is that it´s very chaotic. It´s not just about new scientific inventions, not just about the scientists, but also about the entire biotech industry. The amount of names, companies, places, and dates is itself enough to put a very curious reader off. Add to it scientists' personal histories, how this and that company was created, by whom, when, where, in what circumstances, which company merged with which... Vertigo!
I would cut this book into pieces and put the pieces together in a new order. Because the matter is so fascinating! It´s worth it!
For now... I´m going to lie down and wait for my vertigo to pass.
The new science of synthetic biology is revolutionizing life itself. This fascinating and easy-to-read book explains how industries from pharmaceuticals to fuels could be transformed by this new technology. The book also addresses some of the ethical concerns and how things could go wrong. It offers hope for an exciting future.
Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC I received. This is my honest and voluntary review.
I find science non-fiction can be very hit or miss, with the tone either feeling too drawn out and boring, or weighed down by flowery language and metaphors that don’t make any sense. Anton’s “Programmable Planet” was a very easy to read book that made me think a lot. He does a great job balancing the overwhelming amount of information provided – names of scientists and companies and products – while structuring it so it’s easy to follow. I liked the hopeful turn of the book, even if I was interested in the more dire risks of the future of synthetic biology. Synthetic biology is all about potential and since Anton focused a lot on who was doing the research and creating the projects, there was a very positive spin on almost everything. It has the potential to reshape the entire world, using every aspect within the biotic kingdom to create new things or edit old ones. The pandemic reframed and accelerated the growth of synthetic biology and I liked how the author pointed out that the reason was simply down to the sudden availability of money. It’s a very captivating book that offers a broad review of the brief history of synthetic biology and then projects it forward.
Thank you for the ARC in exchange for a review. This is a book from out of my comfort zone,not a usual read for me. It’s a great read though, it surprised me how much I enjoyed it. Looking at the visionaries of the world and how they shape the world we live in. The author wasn’t afraid to address when biological blunders happen as well as the triumphs in the subject matter.
This book was very informative, one to make you think too.