Science Journalist Emily Anthes on Her New Book, Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts
Science journalist Emily Anthes will speak on her new book Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts. For centuries, we’ve toyed with our creature companions, breeding dogs that herd and hunt, housecats that look just like tigers, and teacup pigs that fit snugly in our handbags. But what happens when we take animal alteration a step further, engineering a cat that glows green under ultraviolet light or cloning the beloved family Labrador?
Anthes goes from petri dish to pet store as she explores the world of animal biotechnology, where science fiction is fast becoming reality and ethical questions are adjudicated by the marketplace. While some critter “enhancements” are frivolous, others could have a real impact on our future, such as using cloning technology to protect endangered species, or stocking farms with genetically engineered, disease-resistant livestock. But what do these interventions mean for animals? And what do they say about us?
Emily Anthes is a science journalist and author. Her work has appeared in Wired, Scientific American Mind, Psychology Today, BBC Future, SEED, Discover, Popular Science, Slate, New York, Miller-McCune, Good, Foreign Policy, The Boston Globe, and elsewhere. She has a master’s degree in science writing from MIT and a bachelor’s degree in the history of science and medicine from Yale, where she also studied creative writing.
“An elegant tour of the wild and fraught sideshow of animal biotechnology... Anthes lays out the facts, but it is still up to readers to decide which side of the ethical divide they will fall on. Learned, entertaining and illuminating.”
Emily Anthes photo credit: Nina Subin