Emily Anthes: ‘Frankenstein’s Cat’ and Biotech’s Other Brave New Beasts

Modern society has created an embrace of personalized pets, from cats dressed in holiday costumes to new breeds of dogs tailored to our lifestyles. But what happens when we alter a cat’s genes so it turns green under ultraviolet light, or when we clone the family Labrador? Emily Anthes, author of Frankenstein’s Cat, goes from petri dish to pet store as she explores the world of animal biotechnology, where science fiction is fast becoming reality and ethical questions are adjudicated by the marketplace. While some critter “enhancements” are frivolous, others could have a real impact on our future, such as using cloning technology to protect endangered species, or stocking farms with genetically engineered, disease-resistant livestock. But what do these interventions mean for animals? And what do they say about us? Presented by Town Hall and University Book Store as part of The Seattle Science Lectures, sponsored by Microsoft. Series media sponsorship provided by KPLU. Advance tickets are $5 at www.townhallseattle.org or 888/377-4510 and at the door beginning at 6:30 pm. Town Hall members receive priority seating.