From Publishers Weekly
In 1997 the world was surprised to learn that scientists had cloned the first mammal, a sheep named Dolly. The lead scientist for the project, carried out at the Roslin Institute in Scotland, was Ian Wilmut, who in this engrossing book tells how he and his colleagues made their breakthrough. Many people were excited about the potential medical advances that cloning presented; others were convinced it was a step toward eugenics and human cloning. Wilmut, assisted by Highfield, science editor of Britain's Daily Telegraph
, argues passionately that cloning will revolutionize medicine and—perhaps a little too optimistically after the South Korean cloning scandal—that scientists can be relied on to behave. He explains why a blastocyst, the 200 cells present a few days after fertilization, is not an embryo and should be permitted in medical research. But Wilmut opposes the use of genetic enhancement to create "designer babies." The author is a bit defensive at times, but he explains his positions clearly so readers on both sides of this contentious issue will be able to re-examine and clarify their own convictions. 20 b&w illus. (June 12)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Scientific American
"Fictional fascination with cloning has rarely focused on scientific fact but usually on issues of identity and how the sanctity of life will be challenged when 'ditto machines' of one kind or another create 'cookie cutter humans.' This obsession has led to endless confusion about what is possible and what is not." So writes Wilmut, leader of the team that 10 years ago cloned Dolly, the first animal created from an adult cell. He and Highfield, science editor of the Daily Telegraph in England, set out to separate fact from fiction. They succeed beautifully and go on to provide a forceful moral argument for cloning and its power to fight, and even eradicate, some of the most terrible diseases in existence. At the same time, this pioneer of cloning remains staunch in his opposition to using the procedure for human reproduction.
The book, despite its weighty concerns, avoids a moralizing tone and is exceedingly pleasant to read. To give a taste of the style: in explaining the arthritis that developed in Dolly's knee--unrelated, so far as they can tell, to cloning--the authors conclude that perhaps the condition "was inevitable for a corpulent sheep who had been indulged all her life and liked to stand up and beg on her rear legs."
Editors of Scientific American