Genetics and its related technologies are revolutionizing the world. The media is regularly dominated by controversy over the latest genetically modified (GM) food, human gene therapy or cancer chip technology. Maverick scientists are in the process of cloning humans, and the human genome sequence is available on the Internet. Fifty years ago we did not know what a gene was; today the awesome power of genetics is being released on an unsuspecting public, and with it a whole series of ethical dilemmas undreamt of even ten years ago. The question now has become not "can we?" but "should we?" By demystifying genetic engineering and exploring the basic biology of the living world, A Terrible Beauty is Born explains how clones and cloning technology are in many ways extensions of processes that occur constantly in nature. Used wisely these processes have the potential to bring enormous benefits; abused, they carry with them potential dangers that we ignore at our peril.