BIOTECHNOLOGY UNZIPPED is the most compelling evaluation of biotechnology I have read since Harsanyi & Hutton's GENETIC PROPHECY of almost 20 years ago. What makes this book so insightful is the "tradeoffs" perspective that Grace brings to the subject. In every instance where a particular technique is either in development or on the market, the possibilities for selective breeding, or genetic engineering, or composite materials, all hold both a promise and a peril. Grace, who has a Ph.D. in Zoology and considerable experience as a science writer, attempts to provide enough critical information in each case so that the reader will get a sense of what considerations are involved in any particular "biotechnology solution". What we learn about biotechnology from him is that every biotechnology decision has the following characteristics: * Costs and revenues (developments cost $millions, so the goal is profits) * Winners and losers (the rich could get lucky, the poor and vulnerable may not) * Benefits and detriments (solutions generate unintended & unwanted consequences) * Enthusiasts and detractors (arguments arise on all sides of biotechnology issues) The reason that the public is so ambivalent about biotechnology is that its supporters have been so inept at making their case. Biotechnology advocates seem to think that their's is just a problem of an "uninformed public" whom they can re- assure because they have "the facts". They obviously don't appreciate the most important principle of new-age , "They don't care how much you know until they know how much you care". What Grace shows is that the public does have cause to be concerned. There are no simple problems, no silver bullets, and no final solutions, even if biotechnology boosters pretend there are. If biotechnology advocates become willing to address these concerns, AND learn to manage the expectations of their stakeholders, then they can begin to earn the respect that will otherwise continue to elude them. Grace's book helps clarify all of this. . Grace's book helps clarify all of this.
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