Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts

Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts

For centuries, we've toyed with our creature companions, breeding dogs that herd and hunt, housecats that look like tigers, and teacup pigs that fit snugly in our handbags. But what happens when we take animal alteration a step further, engineering a cat that glows green under ultraviolet light or cloning the beloved family Labrador? Science has given us a whole new toolbox for tinkering with life. How are we using it?

In Frankenstein's Cat, the journalist Emily Anthes takes us from petri dish to pet store as she explores how biotechnology is shaping the future of our furry and feathered friends. As she ventures from bucolic barnyards to a "frozen zoo" where scientists are storing DNA from the planet's most exotic creatures, she discovers how we can use cloning to protect endangered species, craft prosthetics to save injured animals, and employ genetic engineering to supply farms with disease-resistant livestock. Along the way, we meet some of the animals that are ushering in this astonishing age of enhancement, including sensor-wearing seals, cyborg beetles, a bionic bulldog, and the world's first cloned cat.

Through her encounters with scientists, conservationists, ethicists, and entrepreneurs, Anthes reveals that while some of our interventions may be trivial (behold: the GloFish), others could improve the lives of many species-including our own. So what does biotechnology really mean for the world's wild things? And what do our brave new beasts tell us about ourselves?

With keen insight and her trademark spunk, Anthes highlights both the peril and the promise of our scientific superpowers, taking us on an adventure into a world where our grandest science fiction fantasies are fast becoming reality.

Title:Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780374158590
Format Type:

    Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts Reviews

  • Cheryl

    Pop science survey for voters, consumers, and parents of future scientists. Not technical, no charts or illustrations or bibliography. Thorough notes and index. A quick and fascinating read. I had som...

  • Camille McCarthy

    I really disliked this book because it was mostly about a subject I detest (messing with nature through genetic engineering and other types of engineering) but also because it was written in a really ...

  • Kari

    **3.5 Stars**Ok, I wasn't sure about this book because I hated the first chapter, so let me break it down by chapter: Go Fish - I found it a horrible idea and concept that we could eventually get to t...

  • Aiyana

    This is popular science writing at its best. Anthes takes us on a journey of where life meets the cutting edge of technology, from genetically engineered pets like glo-fish to cloned cats to bionic ra...

  • Cleo

    "For centuries, we’ve toyed with our creature companions, breeding dogs that herd and hunt, housecats that look like tigers, and teacup pigs that fit snugly in our handbags. But what happens when we...

  • Brian Clegg

    In my experience, more scientists like dogs than cats (a dangerous assertion, I admit), which is why, perhaps, a cat ended up on the receiving end of the most famous thought experiment in history, Sch...

  • Georg Gerstenfeld

    Despite mediocre writing and a muddle of anecdotes, this book is worth reading. What science can do and is doing to animals needs to be debated in a much more public way. Some of the examples are dist...

  • Ralph McEwen

    A thoughtful but quick read. The touches on the good and bad in today's technology and looks hopefully at what the future may hold....

  • Tuli

    Before officially cracking open the pages, my first impressions were that I would (1) hopefully enjoy this book and (2) learn something new. As a person who works with genetically engineered organisms...

  • Alyssa Goss

    This book is readable but not very informative. The author tends to gloss over how the processes she's describing work in favor of waxing poetic about the possibilities such procedures might create. S...