Acts of Creation

The creation of an artificial cell by scientist and entrepreneur Craig Venter shows what synthetic biology is capable of. But others want to go much further - recreating life from scratch, or redesigning it at the most fundamental level. In his Harvard Lab, Nobel laureate Jack Szostak is forcing strands of DNA's cousin RNA to compete with each other in a Darwinian struggle for existence. At Manchester University, John Sutherland is seeing whether the raw materials of biochemistry can form themselves in the kinds of puddles that might have existed on Earth 4 billion years ago. Some experts think it's only a matter of years before living synthetic cells will be grown out of inanimate starting materials - a simulation of the origins of life on the young Earth. Science writer Adam Rutherford asks what it will mean to us when it happens.

Producer: Roland Pease.

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30 minutes

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Wed 21 Jul 2010 21:00