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  • Writer's pictureSwaha Chakraborty

Book Review of "Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves"

While the term "genesis" refers to something's beginning or creation, "regenesis" refers to rebirth. In the context of synthetic biology, "regenesis" is the reinvention of nature. I chose to read this book for a variety of reasons, but primarily because of its authors: Ed Regis and George Church. For anyone who is unfamiliar, George Church is one of the pioneers in the field of synthetic biology (sometimes even referred to as the "Founding Father of Genomics).

What I appreciate most about the book is how accessible the information is made for a general audience. Anyone with a basic biology background from high school should be able to understand the concepts and science explained in the book. The use of real-world examples and analogies helps readers quickly digest extremely complex biological processes. The book is a perfect introduction to synthetic biology for anyone with an interest in the field. This makes it a perfect source to use as a way to form one’s own opinions on gene editing technology.

The book is essentially divided into two parts. It starts off by explaining the history of synbio, and the basic science behind it. This includes the techniques and technologies used to manipulate and engineer living organisms at the genetic level. In its second half, Regenesis walks through the practical applications of synthetic biology in fields such as medicine, agriculture, and environmental science. This includes the creation of new organisms, the production of novel drugs and materials, and the use of synthetic biology to address environmental and societal challenges. The book effectively covers both the past and possible future of gene-altering technology.

Although Regenesis does a good job of highlighting the positive uses of synbio in society, it is not afraid of acknowledging the moral questions as well. Later in the book, there is a discussion of the ethical and social implications of gene editing, such as the controversy surrounding “designer babies” and the risks of releasing genetically modified organisms into the environment.

Overall, Regenesis is a thought-provoking and passionately written book that offers a thrilling glimpse into our future. It is a great starting point for discussions surrounding the advantages and risks of allowing synthetic biology to become an integral part of our society. It praises human ingenuity but also warns us of human error.

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