Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts

Front Cover
Macmillan, Mar 12, 2013 - Science - 241 pages
62 Reviews

Winner of 2014 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Best Young Adult Science Book
Longlisted for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
One of Nature’s Summer Book Picks
One of Publishers Weekly’s Top Ten Spring 2013 Science Books


For centuries, we’ve toyed with our creature companions, breeding dogs that herd and hunt, housecats that look like tigers, and teacup pigs that fit snugly in our handbags. But what happens when we take animal alteration a step further, engineering a cat that glows green under ultraviolet light or cloning the beloved family Labrador? Science has given us a whole new toolbox for tinkering with life. How are we using it?

In Frankensteins Cat, the journalist Emily Anthes takes us from petri dish to pet store as she explores how biotechnology is shaping the future of our furry and feathered friends. As she ventures from bucolic barnyards to a “frozen zoo” where scientists are storing DNA from the planet’s most exotic creatures, she discovers how we can use cloning to protect endangered species, craft prosthetics to save injured animals, and employ genetic engineering to supply farms with disease-resistant livestock. Along the way, we meet some of the animals that are ushering in this astonishing age of enhancement, including sensor-wearing seals, cyborg beetles, a bionic bulldog, and the world’s first cloned cat.

Through her encounters with scientists, conservationists, ethicists, and entrepreneurs, Anthes reveals that while some of our interventions may be trivial (behold: the GloFish), others could improve the lives of many species—including our own. So what does biotechnology really mean for the world’s wild things? And what do our brave new beasts tell us about ourselves?

With keen insight and her trademark spunk, Anthes highlights both the peril and the promise of our scientific superpowers, taking us on an adventure into a world where our grandest science fiction fantasies are fast becoming reality.

  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
17
4 stars
19
3 stars
22
2 stars
4
1 star
0

Review: Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts

User Review  - James RC Baker - Goodreads

What excellent science writing to bring me up-to-date! Read full review

Review: Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts

User Review  - Young Mensans - Goodreads

Review by Young Mensan Zander H., age 12, Mid-America Mensa I appreciated Frankenstein's Cat for its fascinating explanation about the often baffling subject of bioengineering and its sister sciences ... Read full review

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2013)

Emily Anthes is a journalist whose articles have appeared in Wired, Discover, Psychology Today, Slate, Scientific American, The Boston Globe, and other publications. She holds a master's degree in science writing from MIT and a bachelor's degree in the history of science and medicine from Yale. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her dog, Milo.

Bibliographic information