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  • Published: 20 August 2018
  • ISBN: 9781784702762
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $22.99

A Crack in Creation

The New Power to Control Evolution

The world-famous scientist behind 'one of the most monumental discoveries in biology' explores its devastating power to change the course of human history

World-famous scientist Jennifer Doudna - winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for creating the revolutionary gene-editing technique CRISPR - explains her discovery, describes its power to reshape the future of all life and warns of its use.

'AN INSTANT CLASSIC' Siddhartha Mukherjee

A handful of discoveries have changed the course of human history. This book is about the most recent and potentially the most powerful and dangerous of them all.

It is an invention that allows us to rewrite the genetic code that shapes and controls all living beings. As a result, dreams of genetic manipulation have become a stark reality: the power to cure disease and alleviate suffering, as well as to re-design any species, including humans, for our own ends.

Jennifer Doudna is the co-inventor of this technology - known as CRISPR - and a scientist of worldwide renown. Writing with fellow researcher Samuel Sternberg, here she provides the definitive account of her discovery, explaining how this wondrous invention works and what it is capable of. She also asks us to consider what our new-found power means: how do we enjoy its unprecedented benefits while avoiding its equally unprecedented dangers?

'The future is in our hands as never before, and this book explains the stakes like no other' George Lucas

'One of the most PIONEERING women in science . . . Exhilarating' Arianna Huffington

'Thrilling' Adam Rutherford

  • Published: 20 August 2018
  • ISBN: 9781784702762
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $22.99

About the authors

Jennifer Doudna

Jennifer Doudna is Professor of Chemistry and of Molecular and Cell Biology at University of California, Berkeley, and co-inventor of the CRISPR technology, for which she has been awarded many of the most distinguished prizes available, including the 2015 $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.

That same year she was listed among the 100 most influential people in the world by Time. In 2016 she had the rare honour of being elected a foreign member of the Royal Society. She speaks around the world about CRISPR and its implications for our future.

Samuel Sternberg

Samuel Sternberg received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2014, and was a member of Jennifer Doudna’s laboratory from 2010 to 2015. He is a biochemist and author of numerous high-profile scientific publications on the CRISPR technology.

Praise for A Crack in Creation

The most important advance of our era. One of the pioneers of the field describes the exciting hunt for the key breakthrough and what it portends for our future

Walter Isaacson

Too important … What may happen thanks to Doudna’s [discovery] is dizzying … for her, this is the future of medicine. If she’s right, then Crispr is about to make our present healthcare concerns look surprisingly trivial

Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times

One of the architects of this miraculous biological technique … explains the science clearly and excitingly as a kind of globalist detective story


Probably the greatest biological breakthrough since that of Francis Crick, James Watson and Rosalind Franklin… We owe Doudna several times over – for her discovery, for her zeal to take it from the lab into the clinic, for her involvement in the ethical issues raised, for her public engagement work, and now for this book

Peter Forbes, Guardian

An urgent plea from the celebrated biologist whose discovery enabled us to rewrite the code of life. The future is in our hands as never before, and this book explains the stakes like no other

George Lucas

Urgent, riveting and endlessly fascinating, this book is destined to become an instant classic. Read it if you want to understand our biological future

Siddhartha Mukherjee

In this wonderful book … Doudna’s and Sternberg’s simple but compelling exploration of this hugely important subject offers and excellent overview of this startling and unprecedented discovery

Literary Review

An exhilarating and frightening roadmap to our future by one of the most pioneering women in science

Arianna Huffington

Jennifer Doudna is the true pioneer who built the bridge between the basic science of CRISPR and its diverse applications. Now is the time to read about the revolution that could change our world

George Church

A scientific thriller and a gripping read by a brilliant scientist

Venki Ramakrishnan

One of the most monumental discoveries in biology

New York Times

A detailed account of the story so far. It may well end up being compared with the book that inspired a 12-year-old Doudna in the first place: James Watson’s The Double Helix … Packed with amazing female scientists, it is thrilling, generous and no less personal … We need scientifically informed conversations about what we should do next with these powers, and Doudna’s book is a good place to begin

Adam Rutherford, New Scientist

A welcome new contribution to the [gene editing] debate… She should be congratulated for being one of the very few scientists involved in a breakthrough to write a timely, popular personal account… Doudna’s style, more contemplative than Watson or Venter, is just as effective at describing the increasingly frantic pace of life in the lab, as researchers realise that epoch-making discoveries are in the offing. She tells the scientific back-story particularly well… The arguments are rehearsed with admirable clarity

Clive Cookson, Financial Times

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