DNA Technology

A Reference Handbook, 2nd Edition

by David E. Newton


Advances made over the past 75 years in the scientific understanding of DNA in a wide range of life forms have enabled success in battling a host of human problems and challenges, such as dealing with many types of diseases and disorders.

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Cover image for DNA Technology

December 2016


Pages 368
Volumes 1
Size 6x9
Topics Current Events and Issues/Science and Technology

This accessibly written book introduces readers to DNA—one of the most important technologies for the manipulation of all forms of life, from simple bacteria to plants and animals. It also addresses the most important social, ethical, political, economic, and other issues raised by this form of technology.

The great strides made in our understanding of the structure and function of DNA in recent decades have led to applying this invaluable knowledge to use in serving humanity. For example, recent discoveries in the field of genetic editing have created the potential for the creation of life forms de novo, a possibility that results in profound ethical issues for the human race that are just beginning to be discussed. What other positive—and potentially negative—developments are coming our way with continuing advancements in DNA research? DNA Technology: A Reference Handbook provides an up-to-date historical overview and general technical background to the topic as well as a broad introduction to current issues related to the development of DNA technology, such as genetically modified organisms, the use of DNA technology in the forensic sciences, and genetic testing and genetic therapy.

Written by David E. Newton, an author and former teacher who has dedicated a lifetime to authoring educational texts on science and technology, this book examines the history of DNA technology from its discovery in the 1950s to the present day and covers recent advances, such as new methods for gene editing, including CRISP-Cas9 technology. Readers need to have little or no background knowledge of the technology of genetic engineering to improve their understanding of DNA-based technologies and how DNA research influences many current issues and debates in agriculture, food science, forensics, public health, and other fields. The single-volume work is particularly well-suited to students and young adults because of the range of references included that serve further study, such as a glossary of terms, a chronology, and an extensive annotated bibliography.


  • Provides an engaging and readable introduction to the topic of DNA technology that enables anyone—even readers with a minimal background in science—to understand the science and technology involved in many of today's key social issues
  • Offers a thoroughly updated version of the information and topics first presented in the successful first edition of this book
  • Presents an extensive range of reference materials that include an extended annotated bibliography and extensive endnotes
  • Includes a Documents and Data chapter that provides excerpts from important laws, court cases, government reports, and other primary sources
Series Description

Contemporary World Issues

24-hour cable news. Millions of Internet sites. Information overload. How can we sort through the information? Assess the analyses? Trust the sources?

This award-winning series offers comprehensive, one-volume reference handbooks on important topics related to health, education, the environment, and social and ethical issues.

A world of questions demands a library of answers. Contemporary World Issues covers the controversial topics that students, readers, and citizens want to read about, write about, and know more about. Visit the entire list of titles in the series at


  • Subject coverage spans six main categories:
  • Each volume offers a rich array of resources:
  • A background and history essay that provides essential context and grounding for further study
  • A balanced summary of ongoing controversies and proposed solutions that show numerous paths for further research on pressing, contemporary questions
  • A forum of authoritative perspective essays by experts, offering a broad spectrum of arguments on the issues
  • Carefully selected annotated documents, tables, and graphs that supports statistical literacy and investigation of primary sources
  • A chronology of events, legislation, and movements that place events in sequence and draw connections between them
  • Annotated lists of print, Web, and multimedia resources that power the next steps for in-depth research
  • Profiles of key players and organizations
  • A glossary of key terms
Author Info

David E. Newton, EdD, has been a freelance writer of nonfiction books and ancillary materials for young adults for nearly 55 years. He has published more than 400 textbooks, encyclopedias, resource books, research manuals, and trade books, as well as lab manuals, problems books, and other educational material. His published work includes ABC-CLIO's Gay and Lesbian Rights: A Resource Handbook; GMO Food: A Reference Handbook; The Global Water Crisis: A Reference Handbook; Social Issues in Science and Technology: An Encyclopedia; Wind Energy: A Reference Handbook; World Energy Crisis: A Reference Handbook; The Ozone Dilemma: A Reference Handbook; Fracking: A Reference Handbook; Solar Energy: A Reference Handbook; Youth Substance Abuse: A Reference Handbook; Environmental Justice: A Reference Handbook; Science and Political Controversy: A Reference Handbook; The Animal Experimentation Debate: A Reference Handbook; and Vaccination Controversies: A Reference Handbook. He has also been an updating and consulting editor on a number of books and reference works. Newton was formerly a teacher of high school science and mathematics in Grand Rapids, MI; professor of chemistry and physics at Salem State College; and adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco. He holds a doctorate in science education from Harvard University as well as a bachelor's degree in chemistry (with high distinction) and a master's degree in education from the University of Michigan.



"This edition maintains the organization of the original, with sections for background and history; problems, issues, and solutions; profiles of individuals and organizations; data and documents; an extensive annotated bibliography; and a chronology. It will be most helpful to students needing a solid scientific background and looking for multidisciplinary information on various DNA technologies and related controversies. For libraries that own the previous edition and support programs in biology, biomedical science, or forensic science, purchase of this updated edition is necessary because the technology is advancing so quickly. Summing Up: Recommended. High school through undergraduate students; general readers."—Choice

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