Arsalan Faiz (Roundhay Sixth Form) reviews Nessa Carey's 'Hacking the Code of Life'

Nessa Carey's introductory book on gene editing provides an in-depth view of genetically modifying organisms and crops and the effects of doing so. There's a constant exploration of the ethics surrounding gene editing, which - by the time you've finished the book, absolutely makes sense. By giving us conflicting opinions on a lot of topics, we seem to find ourselves in the same situation as real scientists - unsure of what's entirely right or wrong. 

Nessa Carey also constantly reinforces the commercial effects of gene editing in the past. However, a much more modern look on this is genetically edited people - edited genomes prevent diseases and physically stronger - there will be a massive impact on the economy from the advancement of gene editing.

Overall, the book was an amazing introductory read, and wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone interested in any sciences.


Something I agreed within this book was...

"Ethical and legal frameworks rarely develop best when created under time pressure, so the issues must be considered well in advance of widespread implementation". This, in my opinion, is entirely true as not only is the ethics and morals around gene editing blurred, this is a technique that alters the embryo AND its future generations.

Something I disagreed with this book was...

The lack of detail. Although this book is a perfect introductory book, I had found that there were too many abstractions used - and they sometimes conflicted with one another. However, these conflicts were usually very small and didn't take away from the emersion at all. 

Something I learned from reading this book was...

How advanced the study of gene editing had come. Finding out that there were twins already born who had had their genomes edited in a way to prevent HIV completely blew my mind.