The Origin of Life / The Future of Life
The up-and-coming star of BBC science provides a gripping solution to the mystery of life on earth and introduces the astonishing new field of 'living technology'
THE ORIGIN OF LIFE: What is life? Where did it come from? In what form did it first appear? And how?
Every creature, plant and cell that has ever inhabited the Earth owes its existence to the emergence, some four billion years ago, of a single life-form: the first ever living being, from which all other life subsequently evolved. Drawing on recent and dramatic advances in experimental biology, The Origin of Life takes us on a gripping, four-billion-year journey of discovery to explain exactly how such a thing could have happened. From interplanetary collisions to the inner-workings of cells and genes, it offers answers to the very grandest of questions before arriving at a thrilling solution to the greatest detective story of them all.
THE FUTURE OF LIFE: Introducing a new chapter in human history: living technology.
Our mastery of genetics now allows us to create entirely new life-forms within the laboratory - goats that produce spider silk in their milk, bacteria that excrete diesel, cells that identify and destroy tumours - offering tailor-made solutions to the crises of food shortage, pandemic disease and climate change. These living technologies can be downloaded for free or bought online in strands of ready-made DNA, using the equipment available in most student laboratories. But much remains unknown and this revolutionary technology is fraught with controversy, not least the fear of bioterrorism. The Future of Life introduces us to these remarkable innovations, explains how they work, explores the risks as well as the possibilities they afford, and presents a powerful argument for their benefit to humankind.