DNA: The Molecule of Life

DNA - The Molecule of LifeWhat is the force at the heart of life? What is the engine that drives it forward? That links all living things from the smallest to the largest, that links families through generations, looks, personality, health, and in sickness?

Scientists have searched for the answer for hundreds of years, until 1953 when two young men ran into a British pub shouting that they've discovered the secret of life.

The secret was DNA, a microscopic strand of only four chemicals but capable of such infinite variety that it carries the blueprint and directs the growth of every living thing on earth. The genetic revolution was about to begin. This is a documentary about genetics and ethics.

Episodes included: 1. The Secret of Life, 2. Playing God, 3. The Human Race, 4. Curing Cancer, and 5. Pandora's Box.

Watch the full documentary now (playlist - 4 hours, 25 minutes)

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Ratings: 7.33/10 from 3 users.

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Comments and User Reviews

  • costakidd

    Very interesting, if you've ever taken a Biology class you can appreciate this series.

    I though it was funny that Jeff Golblum is narrating it.

    I kept waiting for him to say "We give them a virus". (independence day)

  • David Midgett

    Like nuclear physics, there is nothing inherently wrong with the study of DNA science. The problem is that we, as humans, have not evolved morally and spiritually in proportion to our understanding of science and technology. Consequently, putting into the hands of mankind the ability to alter mans genetic code is similar to handing the “keys” to your new Cadillac to a monkey.

  • http://rudelyinterrupted.com rohan

    Oh David, you're so right. It's a pity too because we have the evidence to assist us in the understanding of the science, but not the rational brain power to harness the knowledge.

  • HaTeMaChInE

    Whats wrong with letting my monkey drive my caddy. You got something against monkeys getting caddys? You don't think a monkey deserves a caddy... Is that it? MONKEY HATTER!!!

    To evolve (morally and spiritually) you need an acting force. If there are no lions then gazelles remain slow and dumb.

  • Rahul

    David, you are argument is like. We have built a fast cadillac but since assuming we are the monkeys, we don't have the skills to drive that caree should not try to develop it and destroy the car. My point is obviously we have not evolved morally and spiritually in comparison to technology. This should not stop us from developing technology, morality and spirituality for it will automatically EVOLVE.

  • allan

    @David

    It's called, Trial and Error. You can't just assume that we are going to do the worst with things.

  • allan

    and also, the arguement of nucular physics doesn't hold up here. Because if you study it's history you'll notice that we arn't bombing eachother into oblivion with atom bombs. We're very very conscience of it's dangerous and other than a few isolated incidents have not used this science for evil. So I guess your example is actually counter productive to your point.

  • allan

    @David

    Sorry I had to repost but... you make the analogy "Consequently, putting into the hands of mankind the ability to alter mans genetic code is similar to handing the “keys” to your new Cadillac to a monkey."

    Well if it is gods choice to hand us the keys then who are we to tell him it's the wrong thing to do. A better arguement would be that the monkeys are taking the keys not being handed them.

    If this is true then god really isn't that powerful or smart because we've hijacked the knowledge of what seperates him from us, without him being able to stop us from doing so. Doesn't this imply that god is really not the things he claims to be, therefore he is not worthy of worship?

  • Life.Is.The.Alien

    Roselin's Areligous letters to her father amazingly sum up what I gave been thinking for years. I can add her to my list of heroes.

  • Life.Is.The.Alien

    Dealing with part 2... Monsanto appears to me to be indeed a very short sighted profit motivated company. I would be much less suspicious if the company was co-cooperatively consumer owned. The potential to create monsters is greater than the potential to create something good. Such GM organisms should not have been released into the global biosphere - instead such GM crops and experiments should all have been done in compartmentalized air tight labs or in the case of gm crops be done only in sealed greenhouses.

    THE MAXIMUM PRECAUTIONS SHOULD ALWAYS BE TAKEN.

    Instead you have a few or a single company destroying the natural diversity and food production of the whole world - and patenting seeds - further taking away power of survival from the poor and increasing dependence - this of course generates profit for Monsanto.

    Indeed this is the ultimate scientific folly, the breaking of the scientific method on a world wide scale slippery slope that is definitively not an experiment as we do not have two identical earth biomes... we will destroy the natural order by introducing another level of microscopic complexity to the already extremely complex science of ecology. We cannot even re-balance a lake back to normal pH.

    To me this is absolutely insane. Hopefully I am not right, but altering the code of life should be done with great caution, control and oversight -preferably in space or in airtight facilities on isolated islands. GM should take the back burner until we are able to create and repair a natural ecosystem before adding in the level of microscopic genetic complexity to the mix of an already extremely complex system with seemingly infinite variables.

    I support science, and I think at least 25% of the population should be scientist, but science should be done right and taken seriously.

  • Life.Is.The.Alien

    Regarding Part 3: I find it interesting how both the private and public sides seeking to reveal the human genome - eventually cooperated together to produce the best possible result. As a result of a challenge by private enterprise - the public project adopted the superior and speeder method involving the utilization of computer science. While the private enterprise eventually had to rely on the freely available information (the map) provided by the public project in order to piece to data puzzle back together.

  • Life.Is.The.Alien

    About Part 4:

    Cancer is ultimately a result of non-optimal environmental conditions in the present and the past in the case of heredity cancer.

    Environmental pollution, (use of pesticides for example) unnatural hazardous substances (i.e aspartame in sugar free products) in most artificial (we have not adapted over millions of years to make use of a newly created substance) and processed food - and simply bad diet is a major cause of cancer. Cancer was not a wide spread problem before the industrial revolution... except perhaps skin cancer.... now days we have sun block that stops UV originated cancer but causes a different variant of cancer.

    SO the renovation and design of the environment is ultimately more important than a drug that simply treats the problem.

    Perhaps in the future we will be able to use viruses as a delivery system to repair damaged or unwanted genes.

    P.S you have to love the background music lol...

  • The.Holy.Grail

    Regarding Part 5: I find it cruel to bring a defective child into the world. Both for the child and the family. So I actually support the choice to fix or improve a child's DNA - Some children do indeed ought not to be born. So I agree with Jim to a great extent... except when he mentions homosexuality. To me it is only a 'bad thing' because of the presence of Jewdeo-Christianity - it is simply about attitudes. Also I strongly think that a lot of mental illness is caused by simply unfortunate things happening in ones life. So to me Jim is a bit to focused on nature rather than the effect choice, and nurture - the environment has. Otherwise I support and agree with him all the way. I would love to be his student after all Jim Watson is a geneticist not a generalist... and all highly educated people are skewed towards their own vocation.

    I especially like the part near the end where Jim says that accepting any injustice is corrupting... so you cannot accepted it... then they cut scenes to one organization that has made people accept and live with injustice for centuries -calling negative things that happen to an person always the fault of that person or their ancestors and called it gods will. The most corrupt organizations on this earth whose goal throughout the millennia has been to crush free thought and choice; Churches and religion.

    Genetics to me is the one science most corrosive to religion - perhaps why I am so interested in it.

    About Watson's critics... Watson adovocates having parents and individuals make choices based on abundant and available free information. So their arguments about the destruction of a range of beauty and intelligence are nullified.

    Just say the truth, don't worry about offending people
    Care for society
    and
    it is time for us to take on the role of the good gods in our world.

    Jim Watson another one of my heros.

  • jack

    i can predict grim result of the use of genetic engineering. The problem is that who decide what to be used with the latest technology? the scientists? the public? No, the one deciding are the one who have money and power. The one with money and power usually get and keep their money and power through greed and lack of morality (ie. stealing people's idea like Watson, killing their competitor, etc). So, when these people with power and money and no morality decides what to do with the new genetic engineering technology, will they consider the benefit of humanity? I don't think so, they'll decide by whatever makes them most money.

  • Anthony

    money is man's second greatest folly next to religion

  • hellosnackbar

    It would appear that to some silly people science represents a form of spiritual blasphemy.
    We keep hearing from anti- science morons prophesying doom and destruction in all areas of science.
    Science is based on reasoned postulation, experiment and observational evaluation.
    Even negative results are positive in the sense that there is a knowledge gain.
    As some internet sage once said"Philosophy(science)poses questions that may never be answered;religion provides answers to questions that may not be asked."

  • Tom

    How can I download this documentary?

  • draed

    INCORRECT...!! Genes were not heard of by mankind, before 50 years ago.

    CORRECTION..... GENES were know by all ancient cultures. even Buddha talks about Genes.. which was known as JH'ANA.
    Which GENES, in the West could be a corrupted version of the Original.

    Check out!!

  • Sara

    what is the music in "the secret of life"?! very inprising music and i would like to know what it is.

  • Rip

    They are all laughing at us, as we are a result of their directed panspermia.We already got a fail. There are simply bets on when we will destroy ourselves and the extent of everlasting destruction that our civilization will leave on this planet.

    We are so powerful, harnessing nature, venturing into space (lol), burnng fossil fuels-cave man style.

    Our self righteous self absorbed attitude has put us back thousands of years. From the destruction of the Alexandrian library, to the stifling of science even to the present day. Galileo was one of the best----but was under house arrest for his 'scientific' beliefs.

    We are primitive, self absorbed creatures who have much to learn if we plan on continuing human life in this solar system and beyond.

  • Alex

    According to other scientific videos I watched lately our future evolution is going to be a transformation from human to a Cybor (Cybor = part human part robot). Eventually we will evolve to an Artilect wich means full robot. Without this evolution taking place we will not survive freely in outer of space. Our destiny is to explore the universe so we must become stronger in order to survive out there. Learning as much as we can from the genome will help us become cybors in the next 200 years I would say. That's how I see the future from all the knowledge we are gathering.

  • In_Vitro

    Watson is a good businessman, I'll give him that, that's why he managed to steal the idea about DNA from the other two.
    But I think he's way off even though he's right about having the right to choose. But who will be able to choose since the world is handled by the big fish?
    I agree with the woman that we need diversity. If there will be only "vanilla kids" it could be a disaster. Bacteria might kill us. Diversity is what keeps us alive in our struggle against the microscopic world. That might be overcome only by creating cyborgs but i don't like that idea.
    And if there is no diversity humans would be so easily contained and controlled. Freedom anyone?
    And stuff like mental illnesses can be dealt with the right amount of awareness. She's got a best-seller doesn't she?
    However, genetic engineering is happening and we might as well make the most of it. But something needs to drastically change in social engineering. Capitalism is gross-disgusting and out of date by now and we need to pull out of the illusion in order to change and get back on track.

  • Evolutionary79

    I'm saddened, yet not surprised that the first video made no mention of the role LSD played in assisting Crick's discovery of the DNA helix to the Western scientific community. Another vital discovery that the reactionary forces in humanity are not ready or willing to accept, and thousands of the greatest minds on Earth remain in the closet about this knowledge in fear of being blacklisted from their careers, friends, and families. The inquisition marches on, but it can't continue on forever.

  • drfunkenstein666

    A better analogy would be giving the keys of the whole zoo to the monkeys.

    chaos.

  • mahonhouse

    what is wrong with the advertising in this video.the timers are off and it just keepes repeating ads or just stops the vid with 2 seconds left on the ad.
    friggin annoying as hell.i think u could make people from the molecules in plants.

  • mahonhouse

    i am so sick of this world and the people who are constantly thinking this bit or that bit of info will some how devastate us bc of our obvious and ireversable ignorance.get over yourselves and TELL THE TRUTH.
    or at least the whole story.i read here that lsd played a part in that discovery?
    of course i want to know about this and just makes me think what else are they leaving out?

  • http://twitter.com/jtwit731 Matt J

    it would be nice if you backed up this assertion with a bit of evidence.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_M6F3RJVEWJ24QKMCHFNVK7ADVE Winston Smith

    Daily Motion's the amount of adverting in this is obscene

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_M6F3RJVEWJ24QKMCHFNVK7ADVE Winston Smith

    the mapping of the genome has, so far, led to a lot less cures of diseases than they thought because environment is such a significant factor in development of most disorders.

  • Peter retep

    how oldf is this documentary?

  • Laura V.

    I watched it with firefox and didn't see any advertising