At first glance, this book seems to be a biography of Jennifer Doudna, a biochemist and one of the pioneers of CRISPR research.
While there is some focus on her upbringing and the things that may have driven her to become a fantastic scientist, the book is really about the wide range of characters who helped discover CRISPR DNA sequences and their potential applications in modern medicine.
I’ve heard CRISPR and CRISPR-based technology mentioned in various things I’ve read and how it is something that could potentially revolutionize medicine. But that’s really all I know about it.
This book digs into how Jennifer and her team of researchers discovered the CRISPR process — essentially duplicating the way that bacteria has fought off viruses for eons — and how it could ultimately be used for various therapies, treatments and even diagnoses.
The book briefly mentions its use in the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for COVID-19 as well as some of the more controversial and ethically questionable uses — editing the genes of a fetus, for example, to choose certain traits (which will then be passed down to its own children).
This was an enjoyable and informative read and it covered all sorts of things from the science of CRISPR, legal issues related to patents, and the use cases for CRISPR based technologies today.