In 2001, the Human Geme Project anunced that it had successfully mapped the content of human DNA. Scientists, politicians, and pundits speculated about what would follow, conjuring everything from the nightmare scenario of state-controlled eugenics to the vision of engineering full disease resistance into newborn babies. Such predictions continue to influence public opinion and policy. Beyond Biotechlogy: The Barren Promise of Genetic Engineering distinguishes between the hype and reality of genetic engineering and guides readers toward a proper understanding of the relationship between science and nature.Authors Craig Holdrege and Steve Talbott evaluate and critique the current state of genetic science and examine potential applications in areas such as agriculture and medicine. The authors contend that the popular reductionist view of genetics lacks an understanding of the ways that genes work together in organisms and that this view leads to unrealistic expectations and, ultimately, disappointment.Written for lay readers, Beyond Biotechlogy provides a solid introduction to the complicated issues of genetic engineering and its potential applications. The book also defines and characterizes the kind of science and understanding we need to interact responsibly with nature.
Craig Holdrege is director of the Nature Institute. He is the author of Genetics and the Manipulation of Life: The Forgotten Factor of Context and The Giraffe's Long Neck: From Evolutionary Fable to Whole Organism. Steve Talbott is a senior researcher at the Nature Institute. He is the editor of the online newsletter NetFuture and the author of Devices of the Soul: Battling for Our Selves in an Age of Machines.