Rapture: How Biotech Became the New Religion

A raucous tour of the fast-fading borderland between fringe and mainstream science. In California, a woman desperately hoping to usher in a new spiritual age conspires with her scientist boyfriend to clone herself. In Massachusetts, the founder of a famous biotech company strives to deliver on the apocalyptic vision of human immortality. In Arizona, an iconoclastic billionaire establishes a handful of fledgling companies promising an enhanced human future and super-long life. Meanwhile, some of the world's most renowned scientists begin speaking openly about genetically engineering people and rebuilding human bodies. The two sides are merging, and Brian Alexander takes readers to the on ramp. Alexander traces the story of William Haseltine, one of the most famous, and richest, of a new breed of biotechnology entrepreneurs. A former Harvard professor and now CEO of Human Genome Sciences, Haseltine is considered the father of regenerative medicine. With his reputation as a biotech bad-boy and lover of controversy, he has become a high priest of the new biotech religion, looked upon by life extensionists as a hero. Alexander examines his career and shows how little separates the science elite from the dreamers who believe a new human age is about to begin. Funny, bizarre, yet always fascinating, Rapture takes readers into the surprising stories behind cloning, stem cells, miracle drugs, and genetic engineering to explore how we got here and why we'll go where nobody thought we could.