Remaking Eden: Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World

Lee M. Silver, Author
Lee M. Silver, Author Avon Books $25 (317p) ISBN 978-0-380-97494-8
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-380-79243-6
Paperback - 385 pages - 978-0-06-123519-1
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The age of ""reprogenetics""--an amalgam of recently devised techniques in reproductive biology and genetics--is upon us, whether we are ready for it or not. Silver, a molecular biology professor at Princeton, contends that in vitro fertilization, pre-natal genetic screening, the cloning of humans and the creation of ""designer"" children have few if any moral or scientific distinctions remaining among them. In attempting a comprehensive overview of the state-of-the-art of reproduction, Silver first considers the origins of human life in terms of how ""replicators"" of any kind--crystals, amino acids and now computer programs--make order out of chaos, and then moves on to the science surrounding acts of fertilization and embryo formation. He engages in the debate about when human life begins, touching on everything from Darwin and Aquinas to the number of weeks until fetal viability. Similarly, Silver refocuses the controversy about human cloning by arguing that it is nothing more than what occurs naturally when an identical twin is produced. While his discussion of the ethical implications of cloning lacks depth, he does present his material in a clear manner. Reader-friendly but measured, this is a scientifically astute guide to thorny territory. (Dec.)
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