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Part detective story, part expose, and part travelogue, "Promising Genomics" investigates one of the signature biotech stories of our time and, in so doing, opens a window onto the high-speed, high-tech, and high-finance world of genome science. In a luminous account, Mike Fortun investigates how deCODE Genetics, in Iceland, became one of the wealthiest companies of its kind, as well as one of the most scandalous, with its plan to use the genes and medical records of the entire Icelandic population for scientific research. Delving into the poetry of W. H. Auden, the novels of Halldor Laxness, and the perils of Keiko the killer whale, Fortun maps the contemporary genomics landscape at a time when we must begin to ask questions about what "life" is made of in the age of DNA, databases, and derivatives trading.
Mike Fortun is Associate Professor in the Department of Science and Techology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.