I've been quickly going through the nice stack of books that I got for Christmas, gifts and otherwise. Over on the right in my "Reading/Watching" section you can see the listing of books that I have on hand and haven't read just yet. My book binge at the moment is about a book a night or so. I'm going through them fast! The most recent book I finished was Next by Michael Crichton.
Well the story wasn't as engaging to me as some others that Crichton has written (Andromeda Strain, Coma, Jurassic Park, Airframe) and at times it felt like there were entirely too many characters that I had to try and keep straight in my head (flipped back a couple of times to make sure I had remembered the right character during the first third of the book)...but the info behind the genetic engineering - the genetic patent quandaries, who owns your cells, your very DNA, the media manipulation...wow, too much! Had me both enraged and stunned at the possibilities at the same time. Heh, one of the reasons it was probably a good thing that I'm an artist now instead of a scientist, as much as I enjoyed my time in the labs studying genetics back when I was pursuing a biomedical degree for veterinary medicine, I was entirely too tempted to come up with my own little creative creatures by having some fun with cellular manipulation. (Ah...sweet unicorns...ha!) But that was long ago. And as an artist of today, I have no interest in creating "works of bio-art" with lab developed tissue or glow-in-the-dark bunnies.
I was interested in Crichton's interpretation of private funding influencing University research versus private research versus government sponsored genetic research.
Also interesting is how in the last few days, the news media is headlining "new research results" about gene variants and stem cell discoveries. Curious, most curious.
Japan scientists link strokes to gene variant
Study: Amniotic fluid yields stem cells
Fun to read articles by scientists who are now publishing responses to what is, after all, only a book of fiction, right?
Why Michael Crichton Is Wrong About Patenting Genes
Michael Crichton's 'Next' is noxious
I'm definitely going to be reading some of the sources cited in Mr. Crichton's latest book, "Next", that I just finished reading this weekend. Food for thought, yesh.