TOME THURSDAY: A CRACK IN CREATION by JENNIFER DOUDA & SAMUEL STERNBERG

4.75 stars for an engaging history and future look of CRISPR

Five Things I Loved

  • – Seeing which book started Doudna on her DNA path
  • – Learning more about what happens in the lab
  • – Hearing stories about conference chats outside the presentations
  • – Great questions and thoughts about ethics
  • – Well sketched illustrations

SPARKED

1 Sparked Star – The cover unlocked my interest since it was a DNA molecule cut directly in half, which was a great way to introduce the premise of the book which focuses mainly on CRISPR and rewriting genetic codes. I’m always intrigued by genetics and this one kept my interest since it was one of the writers is the co-inventor of CRISPR and talks about the dreams/reality of genetic manipulation. 

READABILITY

.75 Readability Star – There were a few moments when I had to re-read sentences to make sure I knew what the author meant, but overall Jennifer Doudna writes with a high-readability, defining terms when needed and explaining who the people are that she introduces, and why they’re important. The sentences were nicely balanced and didn’t pop out to break my concentration by being either too short or too wordy.

INFORMATION

1 Information Star – A Crack in Creation doesn’t require a person to be well-versed in genetics as Doudna uses illustrations to shore up what she explains well in writing, and will also explain in non-genetic terms. My favorite was “Imagine trying to correct an error in a news article after the newspapers have been printed and delivered, as opposed to when the article is still just a text file on the editor’s computer.” This was in her discussion of somatic (any that cannot transmit DNA to offspring) cells and germ (which allow inheritance by the next generation) cells.

FLOW

1 Flow Star The book advances from slightly before CRISPR, goes into the shaping of CRISPR, and talks about the ethics/arguments of how to use CRISPR in an engaging narrative. Each chapter added to the one before it and they flowed logically, at a pace that I felt wasn’t slogging (even if it also wasn’t a fast trot to the end). People are named when needed, but the information comes naturally and doesn’t feel as if Doudna is name-dropping or using terms. 

EVOKED

1 Evoked Star – I enjoyed reading A Crack in Creation and looked to see what other books Doudna might have had a hand in writing. There were many moments of aha! noises, groans of understanding, and nods while I read, in addition to a few spots that I read aloud to family members (who may have been interested or who may have just indulged me, who knows?)

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