Once considered a fanciful topic confined to speculative fiction, DNA-based science has blossomed in the last decade to encompass a wide range of real world technologies. Apart from already commonplace DNA testing in the criminal justice system, commercial interests now exploit genetic information to produce hardier crops and forecast the likelihood of humans developing specific illnesses. Angrist, a Duke University genetics professor with the added pedigree of an MFA in writing, is ideally suited for probing and explaining this often-befuddling field in crisp, easily digestible prose. His chief focus here is on the slice of DNA tinkering known as personal genomics and Angrist’s own participation in a Harvard-funded project to map the entire genomes of its human subjects. Along with providing a fascinating close-up view of cutting edge science, Angrist explores the many thorny questions provoked by genome sequencing, such as whether humans really want to know about their future infirmities, and whether everyone’s DNA blueprint should be freely posted on the Internet. A vitally important and timely study of a society-changing technology. --Carl Hays
About the Author
Misha Angrist is an assistant professor at the Duke University Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy. He lives in Durham, North Carolina, with his wife and two daughters.