1st Edition

Creating Life from Life Biotechnology and Science Fiction

Edited By Rosalyn W. Berne Copyright 2015
    306 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Jenny Stanford Publishing

    This book is a collection of essays by scientists, historians, philosophers of science, and students. The essays meld biotechnology into science fiction stories and thereby open a conversation about the morality of what we may be one day, and what it may mean to be human as our biotechnological endeavors continue to evolve.

    The biotechnology "revolution," launched on a global scale many decades ago, has taken a direct course toward re-creating life. Yet there are still many choices to be made in shaping the future that it may one day make possible. The book motivates readers toward deep reflection and continual discourse, which are essential if biotechnology is to evolve in ethical, meaningful, and sustainable ways.

    To Recreate Life out of Life: Biotechnology & Science Fiction

    Part I. Introduction and History

    Science-Story Dialectic as a Discourse of Change Rosalyn W. Berne
    Science-science fiction dialectic as a discourse of change
    Overview of book contributions
    History of the Biotechnology Revolution Catherine Rhodes
    Genetic Engineering
    Genome Sequencing
    Biotechnology Applications
    The Industry

    Part II. Understanding Problems & Approaching Cures
    The "Vicious Cycle" of Obesity
    Eduardo A. Nillni
    Definition of obesity and our evolutionary traits
    Our genetic make up over the course of evolution
    Inflammation and ER stress changing the biochemistry of the brain.
    Protein processing problems
    Madeline Rosalyn W. Berne
    Prion Diseases Joel A. Pedersen
    Natural transmission of prion diseases
    Transmission of prion diseases assisted by technology
    Interspecies transmission to humans: The case of BSE
    Transmission of CWD to humans: A cause for concern?
    Transmission of other protein misfolding diseases
    Carnivore’s Game Rosalyn W. Berne
    Climate Change and the Future of Freshwater David L. Feldman
    What is adaptation?
    Megacities and freshwater
    River basins and adaptation
    Translating climate science
    Negotiations Rosalyn W. Berne
    Adult Stem Cells to Cure Diabetes-induced Vision Loss Shayn Peirce-Cottler, Ph.D.
    The Role of Regenerative Medicine
    Shadows, and Sugars, and Shades of Grey (Madeline, Part. 2) Rosalyn W. Berne

    Part III. New Knowledge & New Capabilities

    Neogenesis Reginald H. Garrett
    Madness Enough to Break the World Sean Hays
    Who Do They Think They Are? Reginald H. Garrett
    Emmanuel Rosalyn W. Berne
    Keys to Bioproducts from Agriculture Elizabeth Hood, PhD
    Potential solutions: Technologies
    Product example using the technologies
    Soon They’ll Know our Secrets Rosalyn W. Berne
    Dr. Hyde David Carmel
    The Promise and Pitfalls of Cognitive Enhancement David Carmel
    Build Me a Memory Nathaniel Cady

    Part IV. On We Go. To Where, Who Knows?

    The Uncertain Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution Catherine Rhodes
    Specific Consequences of Biotechnology Applications
    The Uneven Spread of Consequences
    General Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution
    Factors affecting the speed and direction of technological change and its socio-economic consequences
    Rōnin Lena Nguyen
    Closing Reflection on the Word "Revolution" Rosalyn W. Berne


    Rosalyn W. Berne is an associate professor at the Department of Engineering and Society in the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She uses a dialectical methodology engaging multiple disciplines to understand the social-ethical implications of emerging scientific knowledge and technology. Creating Life from Life: Biotechnology and Science Fiction pairs scientific writing with companion sci-fi short stories in consideration of current biotechnology research. Prof. Berne’s previous books are Nanotalk: Conversations with Scientists and Engineers about Ethics, Meaning, and Belief in the Development of Nanotechnology (2006), which analyzes and interprets the content of conversations between her and 15 research scientists whose work takes place at the nanoscale, and Waiting in the Silence (2012), in which she uses science fiction to reflect on the convergence of nanotechnology /biotechnology/ information and cognitive sciences. Currently her research and writing are focused on the subject of interspecies communication.