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Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves
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VINE-PRODUKTTESTERam 4. Mai 2013
Ohne Zweifel ist der Author (Mr. Church) ein grosser Fachmann auf seinem Fachgebiet, aber dieses Buch enttäuscht über weite Strecken.
Die Einführung ist unverständlich, es sei denn, man ist Biologe. Sie ist aber auch völlig überflüssig für den Rest des Buches, man muss lediglich glauben, dass die Änderung der Erbanlagen für gewünschte Zwecke eben funktioniert.

Der mittlere Teil des Buches ist wirklich interessant. Es wird beschrieben, was man alles schon kann (z.B. eine AIDS-kranke Person heilen, Benzin mittels irgendwelcher Einzeller aus CO2, Wasser und Sonnenlicht herstellen,.....)

Der Teil, in dem über mögliche Gefahren der neuen Technologie diskutiert wird ist erträglich, aber nicht mehr richtig gut.
Der Schluß ist dann wieder echt übel: Der Author beschreibt seine "Philosophie" - und er ist eben Biologe......

Bis auf den Mittelteil ein sehr enttäuschendes Buch!
0Kommentar| 2 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 20. Oktober 2012
*A full executive summary of this book will be available at newbooksinbrief dot com, on or before Monday, October 29.

DNA was not even discovered until 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. In his new book 'Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves' George Church takes us through the developments that have occurred recently in the area of genomics, and also where these developments are likely to take us in the future.

When it comes to the current state of the field, manipulating DNA has already allowed us to produce organisms with new features, such as foodstuffs with novel properties, greater productivity, and resistance to pathogens. Over and above this, micro-species have been programmed to do such things as produce electricity from waste-water, detect arsenic in drinking water, produce blood, produce vaccines, take pictures, and even store information. Indeed, the potential to use DNA as a store of information is already recognized to be the likely next leap in computer science, and is poised to initiate a revolution in informatics.

And, of course, the potential to manipulate genomes does not end with other species: it can also be extended to our own. Actualizing this potential is not far off, and includes such things as increasing intelligence, gaining full immunity to any pathogen (real or hypothetical), and dramatically extending the lifespan (if not removing mortality altogether).

In addition to manipulating genomes for the purpose of creating new biological features, the productive capacity of the genome can also be exploited to produce new substances and materials, such as chemicals, plastics, fuels, drugs, and vaccines. Successes in each of these areas has already been achieved, and the field is on the cusp of scaling-up these processes to an industrial scale. What's more, manipulating genes shows the promise of expanding the current repertoire of the building blocks of substances and materials to produce a whole new array thereof.

Church's book both is both invigorating and inspiring. However, it should be noted that the book is fairly technical throughout, and will only be easily-digested by a reader who already has a fairly deep understanding of the field. Having said that, an educated general reader equipped with a good amount of patience will have no trouble following the argument, and should learn a great deal in the process. A full executive summary of the book will be available at newbooksinbrief dot com, on or before Monday, October 29. A podcast discussion of the book will be available shortly thereafter.
0Kommentar| Eine Person fand diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 16. November 2012
The author gave a great summary of todays state of art regarding molecular and synthetic biology. Some of his thoughts are pretty impressiv, some are not. But thats what science is all about, right? As an engineer, I have some different opinions (some of those got a new perspective, though. And that is a great thing the author achieved). You might find his style a little bit self concerned if you are german as I am; thats american style writing (you will find at least a bunch of techniques, start-ups, papers and publications where the author is involved and seemingly very willing to describe; on the other hand those are his achievments and to peek into his imperium is worth the effort. I really wonder if he ever sleeps... )

So if you are interested in that field, but had no chance to work in it for a while (in my case i try to cultivate mammalian cells in large scale instead of engineering those cells by myself) that book is really a great chance to get an impression where we stand and what the future might or might not bring...

4 out of 5 stars just to remind everybody, that some modesty wont hurt; If germans would learn to be a little bit more enthusiastic about their achievments we could meet in the middle with our american collegues and might get global projects running more efficiently :)
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am 16. März 2013
Man's ability to manipulate genes to whatever purpose it pleases is indeed a big topic. Replacement of natural designs with liberal criss-crossing of genetical material including potential creations of new species represents an unprecedented step in history of mankind with lots of open ends. Certainly, responsibility of those doing top research in the field of genetics is exponentially growing. Dr. Church certainly belongs to this echelon; first rate introduction into the intricacies of issues involved could and should be expected.
Such mission Dr. Church has missed by a wide margin. Nearly all points he makes are cursory statements ranging form overly detailed descriptions of technicalities to sloppy off hand boulevard sensationalisms. None of the issues is treated sufficiently in - depth to allow general reader to clear the smoke covering the complexities of genetical engineering; let alone to clarify any of the topics. Clearly the collaboration between the scientist and journalist miscarried; the result is a piece of relatively cheap pseudo-science. The reader is left alone to choose between DNA/RNA-hope, promise and scare. Of course some of the offered insights into the state of business of bio-engineering are interesting and valuable, yet their humanitarian context is completely missing. The appeals to the readers to check out for another planet in the future and to save human intelligence for the Universe appear exotic at best. If one day Dr. Church decides to put his mind to the pen in a more thoughtful way we might indeed profit from his unquestionable expertise. As long as he doesn't we better stick with reading the classics in the field such as The logic of life by F. Jacob or The eigth day of creation by H.F. Judson.
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am 14. Dezember 2014
I don't like Churches way of only mentioning advantages of synthetic biology that much, but the book is quite interesting though and worth reading and thinking about it
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