by Jennifer A. Doudna and Samuel H. Sternberg

Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution

Available now

A trailblazing biologist grapples with her role in the biggest scientific discovery of our era: a cheap, easy way of rewriting genetic code, with nearly limitless promise and peril.

Not since the atomic bomb has a technology so alarmed its inventors that they warned the world about its use. Not, that is, until the spring of 2015, when biologist Jennifer Doudna called for a worldwide moratorium on the use of the new gene-editing tool CRISPR—a revolutionary new technology that she helped create—to make heritable changes in human embryos. The cheapest, simplest, most effective way of manipulating DNA ever known, CRISPR may well give us the cure to HIV, genetic diseases, and some cancers, and will help address the world’s hunger crisis. Yet even the tiniest changes to DNA could have myriad, unforeseeable consequences—to say nothing of the ethical and societal repercussions of intentionally mutating embryos to create “better” humans.


Writing with fellow researcher Samuel Sternberg, Doudna shares the thrilling story of her discovery, and passionately argues that enormous responsibility comes with the ability to rewrite the code of life. With CRISPR, she shows, we have effectively taken control of evolution. What will we do with this unfathomable power?

About The Book

Jennifer A. Doudna, Ph.D. is a professor in the Chemistry and the Molecular and Cell Biology Departments at the University of California, Berkeley, investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and researcher in the Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging Division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She is internationally recognized as a leading expert on RNA-protein biochemistry, CRISPR biology, and genome engineering. She lives in the Bay Area.

About The Authors

Samuel H. Sternberg, Ph.D. is a biochemist and author of numerous high-profile scientific publications on CRISPR technology. He has been awarded the RNA Society’s Scaringe Award and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award, among other honors. He is a scientist and group leader at Caribou Biosciences, Inc., and lives in the Bay Area.

Release Date: June 13, 2017

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

ISBN-10: 0544716949

ISBN-13: 978-0544716940

For media inquiries, contact: 

Michelle Triant, Senior Publicist Houghton Mifflin Harcourt


(617) 304-4218

© 2019 Jennifer A. Doudna and Samuel H. Sternberg. All Rights Reserved.