Monday, January 12, 2009

How to Build a Human

We are at the dawn of the Age of Biology...

Scientists have already decoded the entire human genome, a magnificent achievement in itself, but how can the human race expect to benefit from this important milestone? Genetic screening is already being used to eliminate disease and scientists are well down the road to successfully repairing DNA. But will we stop at repair or could we go on to improve on our species, to redesign the perfect human? This groundbreaking series explores the limits of a remarkable science.

The 21st century will be shaped by a revolution in biology, which will enable us to read the genetic code of life as we would read a book. The new age will give us an almost god-like ability to manipulate and build humans at will. We have gained the power to control the destiny of our species. This series will give you a glimpse of the future of humankind.

PART ONE - Creation
The ability to genetically engineer human beings will change the human race forever. The secrets of DNA, the genetic code for life, are being unraveled. How are scientists learning to manipulate it to create new human beings – or parts of human beings?

This film has access to the creation of the first cloned human embryo, and the people behind it. It gives us a glimpse of a future in which we will be able to bump into younger versions of ourselves in the street, replace every damaged organ with a new one that contains 99% of our own DNA, and nurture our offspring in artificial wombs.

PART TWO - The Predictor
More and more we are finding that the unique characteristics that make each one of us an individual, from our basic physical attributes to the complexities of our personality, can be traced back to the subtle mix of genes we received at the moment of conception.

But how much do these genes actually predict our destiny? And how much can that destiny be changed throughout our lives? Is it nature or nurture that builds us? The genetic age has opened up a huge realm of possibilities. Will we be able to read our own lives before we live them, predict our deaths and rewrite the story that is written in our genes?


PART THREE - The Secret of Sex
Before science put it under the microscope, sex was a simple, uncomplicated thing. You couldn’t build humans without it. All you needed was a man, a woman, a liberal sprinkling of lust and Mother Nature did the rest. But is that now a terribly old-fashioned way of making new humans?

In the future we’ll be able to build humans in tanks, make copies of ourselves in labs and even have the power to change the course of our genetic destiny by turning women into men.

If kissing is nothing more than a way of sniffing out compatible genes, what is the point of sex, and will it ever be the same again?

PART FOUR - Forever Young
Imagine yourself 150 years old, pregnant and still going strong. Is this scenario the stuff of science fiction? Scientists predict that in fifty years time every organ in the body, except the brain, will be replaceable. Even the heart can be renovated.

The future won’t just be a healthier short life. The search for eternal life is now being taken seriously. A number of tantalising and remarkable discoveries indicating how to stop the human body ageing are about to turn science fiction into reality. The key lies inside every cell in our body. Scientists now believe they will be able to extend the human life span to 150 years. Is this the first step to immortality?

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