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One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue

   1980    Science
Sagan discusses the story of the Heike crab and artificial selection of crabs resembling samurai warriors, as an opening into a larger discussion of evolution through natural selection (and the pitfalls of intelligent design). Among the topics are the development of life on the Cosmic Calendar and the Cambrian explosion; the function of DNA in growth; genetic replication, repairs, and mutation; the common biochemistry of terrestrial organisms; the creation of the molecules of life in the Miller-Urey experiment; and speculation on alien life (such as life in Jupiter's clouds). In the Cosmos Update ten years later, Sagan remarks on RNA also controlling chemical reactions and reproducing itself and the different roles of comets (potentially carrying organic molecules or causing the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event).
Series: Cosmos

Can We Make Life

   2018    Medicine
'It's alive!' Since Dr. Frankenstein spoke those famous words, we've been alternately enthralled and terrified by the idea of creating life in the lab. Now, a revolution in genetic engineering and thrilling innovations in synthetic biology are bringing that dream—or nightmare, as the case may be—closer to reality. New tools allow researchers to use cells to create their own DNA and edit it into existing genomes with more ease and less cost than ever before.
Along with renewed hopes for treating some genetic diseases, there's serious talk of using the newest technologies to bring long-extinct animals back from the dead – like the team hoping to resurrect the woolly mammoth. Science fiction is quickly becoming science fact. Another daring genetic experiment to bioengineer animals could prevent Lyme disease. But the power to make life comes with deep ethical questions. What are the potential rewards—and dangers—of tinkering with nature? This films explores the benefits and the burden of risk surrounding the controversial new technology.
Series: Nova Wonders

The Survivors

   2006    Nature
Some 65 million years ago, the dinosaurs were wiped out when their gene machines failed to cope with the cataclysmic changes that followed a comet's collision with Earth. But with extinction came new life, and surviving mammals evolved to seize the territory left vacant by the vanquished. The concluding episode explores the factors that make winners and losers in the game of life, and poses the question: Who will triumph in the long run?
Series: Triumph of Life

The Genius of Charles Darwin: The Fifth Ape

   2008    Culture
Richard Dawkins deals with some of the philosophical and social ramifications of the theory of evolution. Dawkins starts out in Kenya, speaking with palaeontologist Richard Leakey. He then visits Christ is the Answer Ministries, Kenya's largest Pentecostal church, to interview Bishop Bonifes Adoyo. Adoyo has led the movement to press Kenya's national museum to sideline its collection of hominid bones pointing to man's evolution from ape to human.[5] The collection includes the Turkana Boy discovered by Kamoya Kimeu, a member of a team led by Richard Leakey in 1984. Dawkins discusses social darwinism and eugenics, explaining how these are not versions of natural selection, and that 'Darwin has been wrongly tainted'. He then meets with evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker to discuss how morals can be compatible with natural selection. He goes on to explaining sexual selection, with peafowls as an example. To find out whether sexual selection plays a role for altruism and kindness among humans, he visits women who are looking for sperm donors, as well as a sperm bank manager. Dawkins also explains kin selection and selfish genes.

Is Poverty Genetic

   2014    Culture
Are the wealthy just born in the right place at the right time? Are the poor victims of a system designed to keep them down? Or do physics and biology determine who is rich and who is poor? Throughout history, distribution of wealth is governed by hidden forces: DNA, environmental stress, patterns of human migration and even the laws of thermodynamics! Nature seems to demand winners and losers in life. But does this mean greed is king, and the rich can take what they want? Or is cooperation – between microorganisms, monkeys, and humans – more essential to survival of a species?
Series: Through the Wormhole Season 5
Nova Wonders
Nova Wonders

   2018    Technology
Lost Kingdoms of South America
Lost Kingdoms of South America

   2013    History
Human Planet
Human Planet

   2011    Culture
The Story of India
The Story of India

   2007    History
Wings
Wings

      Nature
The Story of the Jews
The Story of the Jews

   2013    History
Planet Dinosaur
Planet Dinosaur

   2011    Science
A History of Christianity
A History of Christianity

   2011    History