Creating Life from Life: Biotechnology and Science Fiction, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Creating Life from Life

Biotechnology and Science Fiction, 1st Edition

Edited by Rosalyn W. Berne

Jenny Stanford Publishing

298 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9789814463584
pub: 2014-12-19
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429069109
pub: 2014-12-19
from $28.98

FREE Standard Shipping!


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.

Table of Contents

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

About the Editor

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.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / Biotechnology
MEDICAL / Pharmacology
SCIENCE / Biotechnology
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / General