Main content

Creating Artificial Life

Having explored the Secret of Life from a historical perspective in the main programme, Michael Mosley now glimpses the future: he meets researchers at Harvard University to discover how close they are to creating artificial life.

Prof George Church and his team are trying to create a 'self-replicating system' - which is a basic definition of a living thing. They have determined that they will need around 150 biochemical components. Most of these components have now been synthesised by Church's team in the laboratory - in other words, they are not far away from creating artificial life from scratch.

Bearing in mind that all life (currently) on earth can trace its origins back to the same source billions of years ago, this will be a momentous achievement. Nevertheless, it is only a small step towards truly understanding the secret of life in human terms.

Release date:


5 minutes