The Code Breaker – Walter Isaacson

This fabulous book makes me think I should read more non-fiction! First, an aside: the best acronyms are pronounceable. This book is about the discovery of CRISPR (clustered regularly interspersed short patronymic repeats, if you are interested), a powerful gene editing tool that may revolutionize biology. The book is meticulously researched with a lot of science, but it is also about scientists – what motivates them to pursue discoveries? The stark differences between collegial collaborations and cut-throat competition for prizes and patents is high-lighted. Finally, the ethics of gene editing is a major focus, specifically the divide between somatic editing to cure or prevent disease and germline (inheritable) editing which could be used to enhance traits like height or intelligence. This is a thoughtful and gripping book – highly recommended. Thanks Linda, for the gift of this book.

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