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Cracking the Code of Life

Cracking the Code of Life

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Item Number:
120 min.
Closed Caption:
WGBH Boston Video
Grade Level:
7 - 12
Does it amaze you that yeast is your very close relative? That you possess roughly the same number of genes as a mouse? That you are 99.9% genetically identical to every other human? ABC Nightline correspondent Robert Krulwich lends a lighthearted touch to genetic science in this provocative two-hour NOVA special that takes you inside the amazing, complex and contentious race to decode the human genome.

The Human Genome Project was born in 1990, when an international consortium of labs set out to sequence all 3 billion letters of our DNA, predicting they'd finish by 2005. Halfway through their schedule, controversial scientist and entrepreneur J. Craig Venter threw the genome world into turmoil, when he announced his for-profit company Celera could finish the job in just two years. Francis Collins, leader of the publicly-funded effort, and MIT's Eric Lander were among the scientists who answered Venter's challenge. The result made history and laid the foundation for a remarkable future.

Armed with this powerful information, medical pioneers are in the midst of astonishing breakthroughs that will change medicine as we know it. Will you get cancer, arthritis, or Alzheimer's? The answer lies in your genetic code--but the question is: Do you want to know? And will these new discoveries eventually lead to cures?

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