Atoms Alive is a series about DNA and genetics, which has been produced to support the biology curriculum for upper secondary students. Today's program investigates the form in which they are packaged - the cell.
Would you believe that your genes are shaped in part by your ancestors' life experiences? Epigenetics is a new genetic discovery which reveals the hidden influences upon genes which could affect every aspect of our lives. Epigenetics proposes a new simple but contentious idea - that genes have a 'memory', and that the lives of your grandparents - the air they breathed, the food they ate, even the things they saw - can directly affect you
The human eye can supposedly distinguish around 2.5 million different colours. But there is scientific debate whether colour is actually real. When colours are described as red or blue or yellow, it is most often taken for granted that other people will understand and know what these colours mean. But it is not clear whether people's experiences of colour are actually the same; that colour is merely a creation of our brains.
Every single organism that has ever existed has one thing in common - DNA. It is what humans have in common with a mosquito and a blue whale, with a mushroom and a Tyrannosaurus Rex. It is perhaps unremarkable to look at, but it is the most ingenious code in the known universe.
In the final episode, we learn how cracking the human genome has led scientists to begin to understand the very process by which DNA makes humans different; how it makes each individual on earth unique and influences one's personality, how it influences what one looks like, how smart they are, and even how long they will live.
Regardless of race, nationality or religion, all of us can trace our ancient origin back to the cradle of humanity, East Africa. But that was 60,000 years ago. What did our collective journey look like, and where did it take your specific ancestors during that time? At what point in our past did we first cross paths with the supposed strangers living in our neighbourhood?