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Biotech Juggernaut

Hope, Hype, and Hidden Agendas of Entrepreneurial BioScience

Tina Stevens, Stuart Newman
Publication Date:
June 01, 2018
Content Details:
160 pages

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  • About the Book

    Book Summary

    Human genetic engineering programs are well underway, although most people are unaware of it and despite the fact that dozens of countries have banned human germline (i.e. egg and sperm) modifications. When bioentrepreneurs ask citizens to consider biotechnologies with the potential for affecting the human species, information provided to voters often is incomplete, sometimes deliberately misdirecting. This was the case, for example, during the campaign for California’s 2004 Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative. Cloning research was at the heart of that $3 billion proposition, although its promoters did not reveal this. Biotech Juggernaut: Hope, Hype, and Hidden Agendas of Entrepreneurial BioScience aims to correct the informational imbalance between producers of biotechnologies on the one hand, and the intended consumers of these technologies and general society, on the other.

    This book traces the rise and cultural politics of biotechnology from a critical perspective. The authors offer an account of what they call the "biotech juggernaut": the converging vectors of economic, political, social, and cultural elements driving biotechnology’s swift advance. They tell this story by focusing on the intensifying effort of bioentrepreneurs to apply human genetic engineering technologies and to extend the commercial reach of synthetic biology (often called, "extreme genetic engineering.")

    Biotech Juggernaut weighs biotechnology's benefits against its potential health and societal hazards and the problematic means by which it is being advanced. These include the corrupting effects that the prospects of fortune and adulation have on conduct of clinical trials, reporting of scientific findings, and the public discourse around medical and other human applications of genetic technologies. The book is enriched by the first-hand role the authors have played in some of the events described.