Biotechnology in the 21st Century
Series Description: Biotechnology is revolutionizing life in the 21st century, but with every breakthrough comes controversy. Do the benefits of stem cell technology, gene-splicing, and other advances outweigh the risks? Using interviews with experts, footage of scientists at work, 3-D animations, and on-screen text, this balanced four-part series introduces viewers to a field of science—and the pressing issues associated with it—that is rapidly changing the world. A Films for the Humanities & Sciences Production.
This program provides an overview of the interrelated fields of genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics, with an emphasis on practical applications of biotechnology to the field of medicine. [24 minutes]
This program explains the function of infection-fighting antibiotics; vaccinations and insulin, crucial to the prevention of diseases such as smallpox and the management of diabetes; recombinant drugs, treatments involving genetically engineered DNA; and stem cells, those chameleon-like building blocks of the body. [23 minutes]
As the world’s population and overall standard of living continue to increase, the growing demand for food, fuel, and consumer products has reached unprecedented levels. This program examines how biotechnology is helping to meet those needs through genetic engineering to increase crop yields and improve the nutritional value of key staple foods; animal agriculture, founded on selective breeding and edging toward lab-based genetic engineering; and industrial applications of biotech in the manufacturing of chemicals, textiles, beverages, and fuel. [27 minutes]
The Ethics of Biotechnology (#104)
This program confronts viewers with some of the ethical and moral implications of cloning, stem cell research, and animal testing. [23 minutes]