Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Emily Anthes

Emily Anthes is a science journalist and author. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, Scientific American, Psychology Today, BBC Future, SEED, Discover, Popular Science, Slate, The Boston Globe, and elsewhere. Her new book, Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts, was published in March 2013 by Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux. She is also the author of the Instant Egghead Guide: The Mind.

From a transcript of the author's Q & A with Ray Suarez for PBS:

RAY SUAREZ: Glow-in-the-dark cats, goats that produce human pharmaceuticals in their milk, mutant mice engineered to have cancer or Alzheimer's disease, they may sound like science fiction, but these animals all exist today. Scientists and researchers can create animals genetically tailored to desired specifications nature never intended.

Is it desirable just because it's possible? Are there ethical boundaries that must be watched?

Emily Anthes is author of "Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts."

And she joins me now.

And your book is chock full of moral mine fields, the whys, the whens, the when-it's-OKs to do these things. Had you realized how far along this science was when you started on this journey?

EMILY ANTHES, Author, "Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts": I had some idea about what was going on in university and scientific laboratories.

I knew scientists were tinkering with genes and brains, but it surprised me how far along this technology was in terms of trickling out to the public, that you can now buy a glow-in-the-dark genetically engineered pet or remote-control a cockroach with a kit you can buy online. That was really surprised to me.

RAY SUAREZ: Now, we humans have been shaping animals to our needs for thousands and thousands of years. What's different about now? Has science leapt ahead much faster than it took, for instance, to domesticate a cow?


So, if you look at something like the dog, we have altered that immensely just through breeding. But our molecular technologies allow us to make changes more quickly, to make more targeted changes. You know, we can just change...[read on or view the interview online]
Learn more about the book and author at Emily Anthes's website.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Emily Anthes & Milo.

The Page 99 Test: Frankenstein's Cat.

--Marshal Zeringue