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NONFICTION

CRISPR: A Powerful Way To Change DNA

Annick. Sept. 2020. 116p. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9781773214245.
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Gr 9 Up–This nonfiction science book encourages high school students, particularly those with a keen interest in biological or biochemical studies, to form their own opinions about genetic modification. CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) can be a confusing topic to navigate. Ridge, using carefully crafted questions, asks readers to consider the pros and cons of pursuing gene editing. Chapters are divided into examples of medical, biological, and agricultural concerns, such as inherited diseases and drought-proof crops, which can be addressed with CRISPR. Each chapter closes with “Yield,” “Stop,” and “Go” sections to provide additional information and opportunities for critical thinking, albeit with sometimes exaggerated and singular predictions of future scenarios. These sections prompt readers to examine and contemplate the possible worldwide consequences if scientific solutions are pursued using CRISPR. Each chapter contains scientific terms, detailed diagrams, and explanations of scientific processes. Although chapters are similar to the format and content of a science textbook, they do not follow a formal, clean flow. However, readers are able to form conclusions based on historical examples of innovation and scientific thinking, an understanding of modern capabilities and circumstances, and the consideration of ethical arguments.
VERDICT A relevant, evidence-based resource for high school students and academic library collections. Ridge successfully demonstrates the necessity of an educated debate about the nuanced pros and cons of gene modification.

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