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Frankenstein's Cat

Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts

Published by Oneworld Publications
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

Dolly the Sheep was just the start. Meet the high-tech menagerie of the near future, as scientists reinvent the animal kingdom

From the petri dish to the pet shop, meet the high-tech menagerie of the near future, as humans reinvent the animal kingdom

Fluorescent fish that glow near pollution. Dolphins with prosthetic fins. Robot-armoured beetles that military handlers can send on spy missions. Beloved pet pigs resurrected from DNA. Scientists have already begun to create these high-tech hybrids to serve human whims and needs. What if a cow could be engineered to no longer feel pain – should we design a herd that would assuage our guilt over eating meat?

Acclaimed science writer Emily Anthes travels round the globe to meet the fauna of the future, from the Scottish birthplace of Dolly the sheep and other clones to a ‘pharm’ for cancer-fighting chickens. Frankenstein’s Cat is an eye-opening exploration of weird science – and how we are playing god in the animal world.

Emily Anthes is a science writer whose work has appeared in Discover, the Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, and many other publications. She is also the founder of the Wonderland blog, part of the Public Library of Science, one of the most prestigious and most read science research publishers in the world. This is her first book.

  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (March 1, 2013)
  • Length: 256 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781780742168

‘Emily Anthes kicks our chairs and gets us to sit up straight and pay attention’ 


‘With wit, high intelligence, and a lively writing style, Anthes portrays the new world of biotechnology – in which we control the bodies and brains of other animals – and the moral and philosophical issues so raised.’

– Alan Lightman - author of Einstein’s Dreams

“Smart, funny and deep: Frankenstein’s Cat is a report from the frontiers of the scientific campaign to re-engineer animals to fulfill human desires. At the same time Anthes, whose love of animals shines through on every page, takes her readers on a rich and challenging quest of self-discovery: what rights do the animal objects of our creativity possess—and what obligations to them and to ourselves must we accept as we reshape (again!) the living world? A great read.”

– Thomas Levenson - Professor of Science Writing, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of

"Emily Anthes gets the balance just right... There are brilliant stories of the entrepreneurs who want to bring glowing fish and remote controlled cockroaches to market, contrasted with the potentially lifesaving work of pharmed animals modified to produce medicine in their milk. We got GM crops horribly wrong -- and Anthes shows us the approach we should take to avoid making the same mistakes with modified animals. Always enjoyable, a page turner of a popular science book with a surprise awaiting around every corner."

– Brian Clegg - author of Inflight Science and The Universe Inside You

"Emily Anthes' creatures are far stranger (and, at times, scarier) than Frankenstein's monster. She compellingly balances the pluses and minuses of science's increasing ability to alter the animals we share the planet with. A fascinating read."

– Alex Boese - bestselling author of Elephants on Acid and Electric Sheep

"Frankenstein’s Cat is smart, lucid, and full of surprises. There is hardly a page that doesn't contain something new or unexpected."

– Anne Fadiman - author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down