Ancient DNA

The Making of a Celebrity Science

Elizabeth D. Jones

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The untold story of the rise of a new scientific field, ancient DNA research, and how Jurassic Park and popular media influenced its development

Ancient DNA research—the recovery of genetic material from ancient and extinct organisms—is a discipline that developed from science fiction into reality between the 1980s and today. Drawing on historical and archival material, as well as original interviews with more than fifty scientists worldwide, Elizabeth Jones explores the field’s formation and explains its relationship with the media by examining its close connection to de-extinction, the science and technology of resurrecting extinct species. She reveals how the search for DNA from fossils flourished under the influence of intense press and public interest, particularly as this new line of research coincided with the book and movie Jurassic Park. This book presents the first historical and sociological account of the search for DNA from ancient and extinct organisms with attention to the intimate interplay between science and celebrity.

Elizabeth Jones is a historian of science and postdoctoral research scholar at North Carolina State University. She lives in Cary, NC.

ISBN: 9780300240122
Publication Date: February 8, 2022
288 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
3 b/w illus.