“Eighth day of Creation” for developmental biology?

“Eighth day of Creation” for developmental biology?

I’ve just posted a list of science books that I recommend for all molecular, cellular and developmental biologists. In this list I included the classic book “The Eighth Day of Creation: Makes of the Revolution in Biology” by Horace Freeland Judson.

The “Eighth Day” has become a classic for several reasons. First, the subject matter: the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA and the subsequent work in molecular biology rank as some of the important breakthroughs in 20th century science. Second, the personalities: an incredible group of unique, quirky, but ultimately brilliant scientists. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the writer, Horace Freeland Judson: Judson portrayed the science and scientists with great style and insight.

What could or would a modern “Eighth Day” look like? Certainly, there is plenty to write on the theme of the original book – molecular biology. But what about an “Eighth Day” for modern developmental biology? This is something I started to think about following a twitter conversation with @avinashtn. To my knowledge no such book exists. However, I think there is a fascinating story to tell – perhaps too much to tell (flies, fish, worms, screens, molecular genetics, and more) – and plenty of interesting characters and personalities. But who would write it? Who is the Judson of our time?