Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts

Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts


By (author) Emily Anthes

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  • Publisher: Scientific American
  • Format: Hardback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 156mm x 226mm x 26mm | 440g
  • Publication date: 12 March 2013
  • ISBN 10: 0374158592
  • ISBN 13: 9780374158590
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Sales rank: 938,056

Product description

Winner of 2014 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Best Young Adult Science Book Longlisted for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award One of "Nature"'s Summer Book Picks One of "Publishers Weekly"'s Top Ten Spring 2013 Science Books For centuries, we've toyed with our creature companions, breeding dogs that herd and hunt, housecats that look like tigers, and teacup pigs that fit snugly in our handbags. But what happens when we take animal alteration a step further, engineering a cat that glows green under ultraviolet light or cloning the beloved family Labrador? Science has given us a whole new toolbox for tinkering with life. How are we using it? In "Frankenstein"'"s Cat," the journalist Emily Anthes takes us from petri dish to pet store as she explores how biotechnology is shaping the future of our furry and feathered friends. As she ventures from bucolic barnyards to a "frozen zoo" where scientists are storing DNA from the planet's most exotic creatures, she discovers how we can use cloning to protect endangered species, craft prosthetics to save injured animals, and employ genetic engineering to supply farms with disease-resistant livestock. Along the way, we meet some of the animals that are ushering in this astonishing age of enhancement, including sensor-wearing seals, cyborg beetles, a bionic bulldog, and the world's first cloned cat. Through her encounters with scientists, conservationists, ethicists, and entrepreneurs, Anthes reveals that while some of our interventions may be trivial (behold: the GloFish), others could improve the lives of many species--including our own. So what does biotechnology "really "mean for the world's wild things? And what do our brave new beasts tell us about ourselves? With keen insight and her trademark spunk, Anthes highlights both the peril and the promise of our scientific superpowers, taking us on an adventure into a world where our grandest science fiction fantasies are fast becoming reality.

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Author information

Emily Anthes is a journalist whose articles have appeared in "Wired," " Discover," " Psychology Today," " Slate," " Scientific American," "The Boston Globe," and other publications.""She holds a master's degree in science writing from MIT and a bachelor's degree in the history of science and medicine from Yale. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her dog, Milo.

Review quote

One of "Publishers Weekly"'s Top Ten Spring Science Books "An elegant tour of the wild and fraught sideshow of animal biotechnology . . . Learned, entertaining and illuminating."--"Kirkus Reviews ""The book is a quick, often surprising review of current advances, giving accessible treatment to a weighty subject and employing clear descriptions of complex science. Anthes not only explores what is being done but also asks why and if it should be done. Along the way, the book reveals much about humans and our connections to animals and the world we all inhabit." --"Booklist" "Animals are fascinating if reluctant soldiers in the biotech revolution, writes journalist Anthes in this witty and thought-provoking book." --"Publishers Weekly" "With wit, high intelligence, and a lively writing style, Anthes portrays the new world of biotechnology--in which we control the bodies and brains of other animals--and the moral and philosophical issues so raised." --Alan Lightman, bestselling author of "Einstein's Dreams" ""Frankenstein's Cat" is smart, lucid, and full of surprises. There was hardly a page that didn't contain something new or unexpected." --Anne Fadiman, National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author of "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down" "Smart, funny and deep: "Frankenstein's Cat" is a report from the frontiers of the scientific campaign to re-engineer animals to fulfill human desires. At the same time Anthes, whose love of animals shines through on every page, takes her readers on a rich and challenging quest of self-discovery: what rights do the animal objects of our creativity possess--and what obligations to them and to ourselves must we accept as we reshape (again!) the living world? A great read." --Thomas Levenson, Professor of Science Writing, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of "Newton and the Counterfeiter ""Emily Anthes gets the balance just right . . . There are brilliant st