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Young Adult Nonfiction Biology


A Powerful Way to Change DNA

by (author) Yolanda Ridge

illustrated by Alex Boersma

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2020
Biology, History of Science, Experiments & Projects
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2020
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2020
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2020
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 14 to 18
  • Grade: 9 to 12
  • Reading age: 14 to 18


We can change the world with gene editing—but should we?  

CRISPR stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. If it sounds complicated, it is—but it’s also one of the most powerful ways we can shape the future. And it’s poised to completely upend the way we think about science. 

Author Yolanda Ridge tackles this topic in a friendly and accessible tone, with two introductory chapters covering the basics of DNA and gene editing before taking readers through the ways that this ground-breaking science could affect them by potentially:

• eliminating diseases like malaria and cancer,  

• improving the stability of our food supply, and

• helping to manage conservation efforts for threatened animals and environments.
 But all of these possible advancements come with risks, the biggest being that the consequences are unknown. Chapters end with “Stop, Go, Yield” sections encouraging readers to consider the pros and cons of using CRISPR. “Cutting Questions” give readers the opportunity to further reflect on the ethics of the science. 

CRISPR is a game changer. This important book, with detailed scientific illustrations, brings much needed clarity to a topic that will affect readers for generations to come.

*A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

About the authors

Yolanda Ridge is the author of the middle-grade novel Inside Hudson Pickle and the juvenile nonfiction title CRISPR: A Powerful Way to Change DNA, both of which were Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selections. She has also written two environment-themed novels for Orca Young Readers line, Trouble in the Trees and Road Block. She has a master of science degree and is adept at making complex concepts understandable—a skill she uses in her writing, teaching and author visits. She lives in Rossland, British Columbia.


Yolanda Ridge's profile page

Alex Boersma is a scientific illustrator and designer based in Chicago, Illinois.

Alex Boersma's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“A relevant, evidence-based resource for high school students and academic library collections. Ridge successfully demonstrates the necessity of an educated debate about the nuanced pros and cons of gene modification.” 

School Library Journal, 07/01/20

“Science literally on the cutting edge, offering prospects of wonder and terror in equal measure.”

Kirkus Reviews, 05/17/20

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