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In Darwin's Shadow

 

12th February 1809 marked the birth of the most important man in biology: Charles Darwin.

200 years after his birth, Darwin's ideas and discoveries still lie at the heart of the biological science.

2009 also marks the 150th Darwin's greatest work, The Origin of Species.

This series of four programmes follows Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics at University College London, on a journey to find out how Darwin?s ideas and discoveries are interpreted today.

Steve talks to scientists to see how the theory of evolution has stood the test of time - can we see evolution in action? He also examines Charles Darwin's other achievements, his understanding of geology and his many other publications.

Programme 1

Steve starts his journey at Charles Darwin's home, where he spent most of his life after his trip on HMS Beagle.

The garden was his laboratory and Steve discovers what ideas came from the garden that still bear fruit today.

Listen to the programme

First broadcast 11 February 2009

Programme 2

Professor Steve Jones uses HIV as an example of how natural selection works.

The HIV virus develops so quickly we can see it evolving in just one day in an infected person.

In a lifetime it's been possible to trace how a disease that once infected monkeys has adapted to kill humans

Listen to the programme

First broadcast 18 February 2009

Programme 3

Charles Darwin, to most people, was the man who transformed biololgy, but he started off his career in the natural world as a geologist.

Many of the ideas he applied to the science of life, he took from the science of the earth.

Professor Steve Jones explores how well Darwin understood the movement of the earth and whether he would be surprised by what we know today.

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First broadcast 25 February 2009

Programme 4

Prof Steve Jones visits Australia for the final programme in the series.

Darwin visited the continent in the 1830s and could see the beginnings of extinction of the natural flora and fauna.

This programme examines the contradiction between Darwin's theory of evolution and our desire to conserve threatened species.

Can we marry the two to enhance the plant and animal populations of the world?

Listen to the programme

First broadcast 4 March 2009
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