It’s the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal. It took 34 years to complete and cost over 27,000 lives. To this day, this passage connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans is a key short cut for international trade. Find out how the right people, the right machines and the right methods all came together to build an engineering project of unprecedented scope and challenges.
Tagged with “disease” (10)
Synthetic biology can sound kind of bland. Like polyester pants. Nylon stockings. Synthetic – no big deal.
But think about it. Synthetic biology. Biology fully, deeply, maybe radically remade by man. It’s well underway.
Re-engineering biology to make food, fuel, medicine. Seeds that grow into houses. Stronger, smarter humans. Maybe even bring back the dead. The extinct
My guest today has written about finding an “extremely adventurous” woman to give birth to a Neanderthal. And he’s not kidding.
This hour, On Point: synthetic biology creating new and very old life.
Is it ethical to select advantageous genes and select against disadvantageous genes when having babies? Julian Savulescu, Director of the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics in Oxford, discusses this question with Nigel Warburton. This bonus episode was originally made for Bioethics Bites in association with the Uehiro Centre and made possible by a grant from the Wellcome Trust.
UCSF professor Robert Lustig became an Internet video sensation when he spoke out about the evils of sugar in a post that went viral on YouTube. He was also recently featured in a New York Times Magazine cover story, "Is Sugar Toxic?" Lustig joins us in the studio to discuss sugar’s role in diabetes, obesity and related diseases.
Let’s think about life, and how much of it you want. Would you like to live to 80? 90? 100? What about two hundred? Five hundred? Maybe a thousand years?
Suddenly, the relatively young science of gerontology – of aging – is rubbing noses with the ancient dream of immortality. Or at least very, very long life.
Should we accept aging as a part of life? Could we banish aging? And if we could, should we?
This Hour, On Point: we’ll talk with Pulitzer prize-winning writer Jonathan Weiner about science dreaming big of super-longevity, maybe of immortality.
Malaria has been around for five hundred thousand years, but shockingly, the global death toll from malaria has continued to rise since the 1980s. The parasite has developed ever more lethal versions of itself and it now kills a million people a year. Sonia Shah is a self-confessed mosquito-hater. She’s travelled the world tracking down the malaria disease, and has written a book about it.
Joshua Ferris talks about his latest novel The Unnamed, about Tim Farnsworth, a handsome, healthy man, who loves his wife, his family, his work, his home, but who one day stands up and walks out…and keeps walking. It’s a story about marriage and family and the invisible forces of nature and desire that seem to threaten them both.
Full Cast Audio production.
Homo sapiens have been around for 250,000 years - surely long enough to have become fully evolved?
It was thought that the dramatic extension of life spans during the 20th century eliminated natural selection, but new evidence shows that to be false.
Will selection always be natural, or could postmodern also mean posthuman?
Synthetic biology will be one of the driving technological forces of this century. By transforming the complexity and diversity of life into a technology malleable by man, it simultaneously offers some of science’s highest hopes and gravest threats. Like splitting the atom, synthetic biology holds a great wealth of power that must be wielded with care.
Bioengineer Drew Endy is the leading enabler of open-source biotechnology. Technology historian Jim Thomas is the leading critic of biotech, based with ETC Group in Ottawa. Moderated by Stewart Brand, they will meet to discuss how the emerging and potentially revolutionary capabilities of synthetic biology can be utilized safely, equitably and openly.
Synthetic biology is swarming ahead all over the world, at a self-accelerating pace far greater than Moore’s Law, with a range of impacts far greater than genetically engineered food crops. Jim Thomas raises the question: "Is Synthetic Biology reckless or wise from the perspective of ‘the long now?’. I feel the synthetic biology community is driven by immensely short term assumptions and motivations, and as a result the medium term prospect for this platform holds both predictable problems and nasty surprises."