In the past century and a half, the evolution of biology has outstripped that of any of its subjects. Since Darwin’s monumentally influential but rudimentary discoveries, biologists have advanced their knowledge of genetics and genomics with such astonishing speed as to be able not just to understand life processes but also to control them. While expanding our therapeutic and reproductive capabilities, these innovations also serve to obscure the very notion of life and its sanctity. In The Second Tree, award-winning journalist Elaine Dewar seriously reexamines our identity, rights, and responsibilities in a world where scientists can invent new creatures at their whim. She also turns her journalistic eye to the culture of acquisitiveness and secrecy at the highest levels of biological research, revealing the scientific community as one in which greed has replaced intellectual curiosity as the primary motivation of advancement, and in which the race for near-omnipotence is veiled by a supposed desire to do good. This is a powerful and fascinating book about an elite group of researchers who see mortality itself as just another disorder that they intend to cure—and the moral ramifications of their work.