Helen Pilcher’s first book was a survey of how scientists are trying to bring back extinct species, Jurassic Park-style, by combining and revivifying DNA. It was clever, eye-opening and funny — as you’d expect from a science writer with a PhD in biology who moonlights as a comedian.
Her new book tackles how humans are altering existing animal life. It has some good lines and is richly entertaining throughout, but under the surface it is pretty serious. This is because biotech is pretty serious, and getting rapidly more so. Genetically modified food has been on global shelves since the 1990s — 90% of US maize is now GM. The game-changer, though, is gene-editing, which enables sections of DNA to be snipped out of one species