Walter Isaacson on the gene editing revolution

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Walter Isaacson has studied and written extensively about the physics and technology revolutions as the biographer of such figures as Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs. But after writing his latest book, he is convinced there's a far more momentous revolution in the works.

"The next few decades are going to be the era of biotech," he said in a GeekWire podcast conversation about his new book, The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing and the Future of the Human Race. "We'll be able to do totally amazing things that will not only make us healthier but in some ways will transform our species. So as much as I love the digital revolution, I think this is the big one."

The book explores the history and implications of gene editing through the stories of scientists and other key figures in the field. The central character is Jennifer Doudna, the UC Berkeley biochemist who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2020 with French geneticist Emmanuelle Charpentier for their discoveries and work in CRISPR gene editing.

Isaacson is a professor of history at Tulane who was previously CEO of The Aspen Institute, chair of CNN and editor of Time.

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