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The Cell

Duration:
43 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 13 September 2012

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the cell, the fundamental building block of life. First observed by Robert Hooke in 1665, cells occur in nature in a bewildering variety of forms. Every organism alive today consists of one or more cells: a single human body contains up to a hundred trillion of them.

The first life on Earth was a single-celled organism which is thought to have appeared around three and a half billion years ago. That simple cell resembled today's bacteria. But eventually these microscopic entities evolved into something far more complex, and single-celled life gave rise to much larger, complex multicellular organisms. But how did the first cell appear, and how did that prototype evolve into the sophisticated, highly specialised cells of the human body?

With:

Steve Jones
Professor of Genetics at University College London

Nick Lane
Senior Lecturer in the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London

Cathie Martin
Group Leader at the John Innes Centre and Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia

Producer: Thomas Morris.

  • FURTHER READING

    B. Alberts, A. Johnson, J. Lewis, M. Raff, K. Roberts, P. Walter, ‘Molecular Biology of the Cell 5E’ (Garland Science, 2008)

    B. Alberts, D. Bray, K. Hopkin, A. Johnson, J. Lewis, M. Raff, K. Roberts,
    P. Walter, ‘Essential Cell Biology’ (Garland Publishing, 2009)

    A. Amey, G. Coupland, L. Dolan, N. Harberd, J. Jones, C. Martin, R. Sablowski,
    A. M. Smith, ‘Plant Biology’ (Garland Science, 2009)

    Franklin Harold, ‘The Way of the Cell’ (OUP, 2001)

    R. F. Kratz, ‘Molecular and Cell Biology For Dummies’ (John Wiley & Sons, 2009)

    Nick Lane, ‘Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution’ (Profile Books, 2010)

    Lewis Thomas, ‘The Lives of a Cell’ (Penguin, 1996)

    Lewis Wolpert, ‘How We Live and Why We Die’ (Faber & Faber, 2009)

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