Michael Specter Explores How mRNA Vaccines Helped Spark a Biotechnology Revolution in New Audio Original

Biology is information, and increasingly, that means digital information. We need to start thinking  about biology the way we think about computer code, only instead of bits and bytes, the language of biology uses the genetic letters: ACGT. The widely-used mRNA COVID vaccines offer the most immediate example of this groundbreaking moment in medical and scientific history. However, the impact of this revolution in biotechnology is going to resonate throughout science far beyond vaccines. Scientists are learning how to program life and nothing on this planet will ever be the same.

New Yorker staff writer Michael Specter has been immersed in the latest breakthroughs of science and technology for decades. He brings this expertise to HIGHER ANIMALS: Vaccines, Synthetic Biology, and the Future of Life (on sale March 28, 2023), an original audiobook from Pushkin Industries on sale written and narrated by Michael Specter, in which listeners will hear how mRNA technology has begun to transform the scientific landscape.

In many ways, the urgency of the pandemic has made the vast potential of mRNA technology obvious. The recent successes of synthetic biology—a field in which scientists seek to combine elements of engineering, chemistry, computer science, and molecular biology—could help researchers create highly personalized cancer treatments, energy sources that we can grow rather than dig out of the ground, and ways to save species that are vanishing at an alarming rate.

Nothing this powerful comes without dangers attached to it. Our new-found ability to rewrite the rules of life will inevitably be accompanied by threats we have hardly begun to imagine. As is often the case with new technologies, many people remain reluctant to adopt these advances. And the stakes could not be higher. In HIGHER ANIMALS, Michael Specter explores how synthetic biologists are working to engineer solutions to threats like climate change, future pandemics, diminishing freshwater, and the strain on our planet’s ability to feed its population, while raising startling questions about this remarkable—and potentially dangerous—new era.

Michael Specter is the author of another Pushkin Industries original audiobook FAUCI, the first audio biography of Dr. Anthony Fauci, featuring exclusive conversations with Dr. Fauci, his wife, key colleagues and peers, along with archival recordings and an original score. FAUCI was a #1 Audible Nonfiction Bestseller and received the first daily New York Times book review for an audio-only project. In these original audiobooks, Specter is a master at making complex scientific issues accessible and entertaining by deploying audio storytelling techniques, such as field recordings, archival interview tape, and scoring. You can find Higher Animals wherever digital audiobooks are purchased or borrow it from your local library. You can also buy Higher Animals at pushkin.fm and listen to it on your podcast player of choice below.