From The Telegraph:

'No undertaking by Man is tried in vain, nor against him can Nature further arm herself.” So sings the chorus in L’Orfeo. In this opera written at the dawn of the modern age the hero comes to grief; but 400 years of endeavour since have brought these hubristic claims closer to reality. Scientists are developing testable hypotheses with regard to that most ancient of mysteries, the origin of life, and are coming close to creating altogether new forms, in which hitherto unimagined beings are born from an idea rather than an ancestor. Adam Rutherford surveys these momentous issues in a game of two halves. Creation is two short books in one. The first looks at where, when and how life on Earth began. The second is about the research to make new life: synthetic biology. To read the second you have to turn the book upside down and start reading from the back. It’s a cool idea – though it may instil vertigo – and it makes some sense conceptually because the two issues are linked.

…The Future of Life is an efficient, accessible overview of developments in synthetic biology to date. Rutherford makes a strong case for considered, well-informed debate regarding its potential benefits and possible dangers. The extraordinary science and his argument are worth every reader’s scrutiny.

More here.