How scientists are closer than ever to not only uncovering the mystery of how life was created, but to replicating that moment Within the first billion years after this planet formed, a spark of life spontaneously ignited, turning inanimate chemicals into what we now would recognize as a living thing: a cell. Four billion years later, science has catalogued more than a million species. Science writer Adam Rutherford shows how unprecedented advances in our understanding of life have equipped us with the ability to create entirely new life-forms: goats that produce spider silk in their milk, bacteria that excrete diesel, genetic codes that identify and destroy cancer cells. This new synthetic biology is poised to offer radical new solutions to the crises of food shortage, pandemic disease, and climate change. By charting the history of our evolution, questioning what life really is, and identifying the milestones in our understanding of biological processes, Rutherford shows how this frontier of science will kickstart an industrial revolution that will dominate the rest of this century.
Adam Rutherford is a science writer and broadcaster. He is an editor at Nature, writes for the Guardian, and regularly presents programs for BBC Radio 4 in the UK. He has also presented several acclaimed science series for BBC television, including the award winning three-part series The Cell. A geneticist by training, he has a Ph.D. from University College London.