Virtual Event: Matthew Cobb


As Gods:
A Moral History of 
the Genetic Age 

in conversation with KEVIN DAVIES


January 24, 2023
6:00 PM ET


Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.


Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration

Harvard Book Store, the Harvard University Division of Science, and the Harvard Library welcome MATTHEW COBB—author and professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Manchester—for a discussion of his new book As Gods: A Moral History of the Genetic Age. He will be joined in conversation by KEVIN DAVIES—author of Editing Humanity: The CRISPR Revolution and the New Era of Genome Editing.

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About As Gods

In 2018, scientists manipulated the DNA of human babies for the first time. As biologist and historian Matthew Cobb shows in As Gods, this achievement was one many scientists have feared from the start of the genetic age. Four times in the last fifty years, geneticists, frightened by their own technology, have called a temporary halt to their experiments. They ought to be frightened: Now we have powers that can target the extinction of pests, change our own genes, or create dangerous new versions of diseases in an attempt to prevent future pandemics. Both awe-inspiring and chilling, As Gods traces the history of genetic engineering, showing that this revolutionary technology is far too important to be left to the scientists. They have the power to change life itself, but should we trust them to keep their ingenuity from producing a hellish reality?

Praise for As Gods

“With this masterfully written, and deeply researched, book about the birth and future of genetics, Cobb catapults us into a world full of the joys of discovery, the intense rivalries and friendships between scientists, and the many moral and scientific uncertainties about genetics that await us.” ―Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Gene

“A gripping, bawdy tale of science fiction morphing into business history . . . Exhaustively researched and beautifully written . . . the histories of recombinant DNA, biotech, GMOs, gene therapy, and cloning in a single lively, accessible account.” ―Nathaniel Comfort, Professor of the History of Medicine, John Hopkins University

“A riveting guide to the new age of genome engineering, revealing how ideas and technology that until recently existed only in science fiction are now a stunning clinical reality . . . Required reading for anyone who cares about the future of humanity and our planet.” ―Kevin Davies, author of Editing Humanity

Kevin Davies
Kevin Davies

Kevin Davies

DR. KEVIN DAVIES is a British author and journal editor. His most recent book is Editing Humanity: The CRISPR Revolution and the New Era of Genome Editing. Kevin is the founding editor of Nature Genetics and currently the Executive Editor of The CRISPR Journal as well as a new multidisciplinary journal launched in 2022, GEN Biotechnology. Kevin’s previous books include Breakthrough: The Race for the Breast Cancer Gene and Cracking the Genome. He also collaborated with Nobel laureate Jim Watson and Andrew Berry on an updated edition of DNA: The Story of the Genetic Revolution. He is currently working on a new book about sickle-cell disease for Harvard University Press. 

Matthew Cobb
Matthew Cobb

Matthew Cobb

MATTHEW COBB is a professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Manchester. He is the author of six books: The Idea of the Brain, Life’s Greatest Secret, Generation, The Resistance, Eleven Days in August, and Smell: A Very Short Introduction. He lives in England. 

Photo Credit: Stuart Phillipson

Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Event Series: Harvard Science Book Talks

The Harvard Science Book Talks series is a collaboration between the Harvard University Division of Science, the Harvard Library, and Harvard Book Store. The series features talks by the authors of recently published books on a variety of science-related topics and is open to both the Harvard community and to the general public. Typically, lectures are followed by a book signing with the author and refreshments. Learn more and watch recordings of past talks here

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