cover image Clone: The Road to Dolly and the Path Ahead

Clone: The Road to Dolly and the Path Ahead

Gina Kolata. William Morrow & Company, $23 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-688-15692-3

Public attitudes toward cloning intensified after the announcement in early 1997 that Dr. Ian Wilmut had cloned a sheep from adult cells in Scotland. ""Now there are no boundaries. Now all of science fiction is true,"" molecular geneticist Lee Silver remarked after hearing of Dolly's birth. New York Times science reporter Kolata (The Baby Doctors: Probing the Limits of Fetal Medicine), who broke the story nationally, conveys the fascination of both scientists and the public in this engrossing account of the theories and technology that led to Wilmut's success. Referring to such works as Frankenstein, Paradise Lost and The Island of Doctor Moreau, Kolata notes the ambivalence that rages beneath the current cloning debates. She brings keen insight to her analysis of the implications of cloning and makes the complex details of genetics and cell biology interesting and accessible. And she tells a great story, noting the curious twists and turns on the road to Dolly and how humble animal scientists carried out the plodding work of making cloning a reality. What lies ahead? Cloning can make it possible to grow organs for transplant, to produce inexpensive pharmaceuticals and help infertile couples have children. Will it also degrade individuality and increase human arrogance? Theologians, ethicists and scientists differ on these questions, but the impact of this new technology, made clear through Kolata's expert coverage, cannot be overstated. Author tour. (Jan.)