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Heredity, Human
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Motherland: A Genetic Journey

Cut off from their ancestry by the three-hundred-year-long slave trade which uprooted 12 million people from Africa, three people are given the opportunity, through DNA searches, to reconnect with their roots. Through advances in DNA research and with the help of laboratories in the UK and America, the possibility arises that with a swab from the inside of a person's cheek they can trace back twelve or thirteen generations to the tribe of their ancestors.
Clemons (Stacks)

Hand-Me-Down Genes [electronic resource]: How Genes Work

Our body is composed of billions of cells, but how does each cell know what to become? This program starts with the nucleus of a single cell and then explains the other components the cell needs to function: chromosomes, genes, DNA, and ribosomes. From hair color to height, our genes determine who we are. This program explores, through animated graphics, all of the basic genetic building blocks and how they work.
2006; 1997

Hand-Me-Down Genes [electronic resource]: Family Patterns

When you look at a family photo, the resemblances, even across several generations, can be striking. What role do genes play, and why aren't siblings identical (and why are some)? This program explains how the formation of sex cells, from the first gamete to chromosome pairs, determines our genetic makeup. Deviations such as cystic fibrosis, Huntington's disease, achondroplasia, Klinefelter syndrome, and Turner syndrome are also discussed.
2006; 1997

Genetic Engineering Pt. 1 [electronic resource]: How DNA Works

Any discussion of genetic engineering first requires a knowledge of how organisms replicate. In this program, Dr. David Cove describes the structure and function of DNA as he covers how coding sequences and promoters work together to create proteins from amino acids. DNA's remarkable suitability as a medium for duplicating the blueprints of life both rapidly and accurately in a simple yet precise language is emphasized.
2006; 2001

Genetic Engineering Pt. 2 [electronic resource]: How Genes Are Engineered

How does cDNA differ from normal DNA? Can a bullet really implant genes? And why is a gene for bioluminescence so valuable to researchers? This program answers those and other questions as it introduces the process of genetic engineering. Dr. David Cove deftly explains how reverse transcriptase is used to isolate genes, how isolated genes are cloned, how cloned genes are delivered via benign virus or "DNA gun," and how the effects of delivered genes are tracked by reporter genes.
2006; 2001

Genetic Engineering Pt. 3 [electronic resource]: Applications and Issues

Many scientists and consumers believe that genetic engineering will vastly improve life on Earth, while others believe it will spell the ruin of the planet. What are the facts behind the rhetoric and the hysteria? In this program, Dr. David Cove surveys past and probable future applications of genetic engineering while calmly presenting possible benefits and liabilities. The case is stated for genetically modified crops; microorganism-produced human insulin; engineered vaccines, which involve no disease-causing microbes; and the diagnosis and cure of gene-based diseases. The concept of risk assessment is also defined.
2006; 2001

DNA Profiling [electronic resource]

What used to take two weeks currently takes only a day-and in the near future, will likely take mere minutes. In this concise program, Chris Hadkiss, senior scientist at the Forensic Science Service, explains the latest DNA extraction and quantification techniques. Detailed laboratory footage illustrates the processes of sample extraction, quantification, amplification, separation, and interpretation. In addition, Mr. Hadkiss provides background on the history of DNA profiling, sources of DNA for sampling, the difficulties associated with radioactive tagging as compared to fluorescent tagging, and the value of mitochondrial DNA analysis.
2005; 1998

After Darwin [electronic resource]: Genetics, Eugenics, and the Human Genome

From the promise of eliminating genetic disease to the threat of eradicating human diversity, the potential of genetics to benefit humankind is matched only by its capacity for harm. Using interviews, archival footage, and period film clips, this insightful program traces the history of genomic research and its dark offspring: behavioral genetics, eugenics, and the commodification of children. Spotlighting topics including the Human Genome Project, gene patenting, cloning, fertility clinics, genetic testing, and the discriminatory practices of insurance companies, Nobel Laureate Dr. James Watson, Dr. Leroy Hood, and numerous other experts examine the potential of the biotechnological revolution and the moral and ethical issues it raises.
2005; 1999

Genetic Discoveries, Disorders, and Mutations [electronic resource]

This program analyzes the contributions of Mendel and Darwin, the transmission of single- and multiple-gene disorders, and genetic mutation. Following a description of Mendel's landmark pea-breeding experiments, the principles of heredity are applied to the spread of congenital conditions such as cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, myotonic dystrophy, and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The second half of the program centers on types of mutation, including point mutation, deletion, frame shifting, insertion, and gross chromosomal abnormality. Darwin's theory of natural selection is considered as well.
2006; 1997

High-Tech Foods [electronic resource]: Is Genetically Engineered Food Safe?

Fast-tracked by the FDA, GMOs-genetically modified organisms-have already deeply penetrated America's food supply. Are they safe? In this program, NewsHour correspondent Paul Solman looks at both sides of the GMO controversy. Agricultural law professor Neil Hamilton, a nutrition consultant, and an independent corn farmer counsel a conservative approach, while economist Dermot Hayes, of Iowa State University, reacts to the unfairness of anti-GMO rhetoric, in which the plants are, in effect, considered guilty until proved innocent. Do the potential benefits of GMOs outweigh the possible risks?
2006; 2000

Overview of Biotechnology [electronic resource]

Some of the hottest challenges facing the 21st century are being worked on right now by biotechnologists. This introductory-level program investigates the dynamic field of biotechnology and examines how it relates to a cross-section of different disciplines such as medicine, healthcare, ergonomics, and communications. In addition, employees from the biotechnology sector offer their insights on the work that they do and on the industry as a whole.
2006; 2000

Genetically Modified Crops [electronic resource]: Hope vs. Hype

This ABC News program begins with an overview of the controversial new type of crop hybridization known as genetic modification, exploring why the technology has panicked European consumers and has left many American farmers with mixed feelings. Then, correspondent John Donvan moderates a vigorous discussion between Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman; Val Giddings, Vice President of Food and Agriculture at the Biotechnology Industry Organization; and vociferous anti-biotechnology activist Jeremy Rifkin, who debate the value of government and industry testing and the need for package labeling.
2009; 1999

Accepting Life's Transitions [electronic resource]

Aging is a series of transitions, some gradual and some abrupt. How do people come to terms with these changes? This program examines the aging process from beginning to end, defining age from the viewpoints of biology, psychology, society, functionality, and the law. The impact of current behaviors and attitudes on one's future self is also discussed, as well as dying-itself a part of life-and the stages of grieving. In addition, the program addresses the health challenges faced by older Americans and indicates why some seniors cope better than others.
2006; 1998

Biotechnology [electronic resource]: Friend or Foe?

Genetic science holds the keys to life itself. How should this knowledge be used? Enhanced by outstanding 3-D computer animations and microscopic imaging, this engaging program featuring Dr. Cary Fowler, author of Shattering: Food, Politics, and the Loss of Genetic Diversity, takes a balanced look at the biotechnological revolution. Among the numerous topics surveyed are genetic engineering, cloning, gene therapy, genetically modified food crops, gene patenting, DNA fingerprinting, gene banks, and the use of transgenic animals for organ transplants. An overview of heredity, natural selection, and the mechanics of DNA is provided.
2005; 2000

Cutting and Splicing DNA [electronic resource]

This program presents a brief history of genetic science, from Darwin's theory of evolution through the discovery of DNA and the invention of gene splicing. Darwin hypothesized a theory, but understood nothing of the mechanism of evolution. The program follows the history of scientific understanding of the nucleus, chromosomes, and the location of hereditary information; explains the work of Gregor Mendel and Thomas Hunt Morgan; and features exclusive interviews with James Watson, who unravelled the secret of DNA's structure, and Stanley Cohen, who first spliced the gene and created contemporary cloning techniques. Spectacular computer animation displays the beautiful simplicity of the DNA molecule, and reveals how the gene was spliced.
2007; 1988

Evolution [electronic resource]: Man Takes a Hand

This program provides an explanation of how the twin techniques of gene splicing and cloning are helping to unravel the secrets of variation. Genetic engineering is altering the branching pattern of natural evolution-which proceeds by mutations within a species and sexual recombination within that species-into a network, in which genes are moved within the laboratory from any species to any other species. The program explains the irreversible and unforeseeable results of gene splicing and the scientific and governmental regulations under consideration-realistic scientific and moral questions, uninformed though highly imaginative hysteria. and the actual effects of cloning; it explains the sequences of DNA, how we are learning to read them, the masterminding message in the DNA of many [...]
2007; 1988

The Human Genome [electronic resource]

This program explores the search for the one specific disease-causing gene among a hundred thousand genes clustered on 23 pairs of chromosomes-a maze called the human genome. In the 1950s, we discovered that genes were sections of the long strand of hereditary material, DNA; in the 1970s, we learned how to cut and splice that strand; in the 1990s, we are labeling the individual genes that carry beneficial or unwanted characteristics. The program shows how individual genes are being identified, and the moral and psychological dilemma confronting doctor and patient when a disease like Huntington's chorea can be genetically identified: Is it better to live with fear or risk knowing that a lingering and horrible death awaits?
2005; 1988

DNA Techniques [electronic resource]

This program gives an explanation of the promises and the dangers inherent in deciphering the gene map, and a warning about the dangers of eliminating genetic variation and recessive traits. The program analyzes the potential misuse of genetic information and demonstrates the potential of genetic engineering to provide the first true preventive medicine program in medical history, as well as the possibility of eradicating single-gene defects like thalassemia; it also explains the dangers of narrowing the genetic pool, and-in a segment with extraordinary photography-shows the injection of human genes into mouse ova so that they merge with the mouse DNA. And the program proceeds to ask: Is this the first step to wiping out genetic illness-or to wiping out ourselves?
2008; 1988

Designer Plants [electronic resource]

We may not recognize the plants and animals our children eat. But the real issue is whether the power of the gene will be wisely used, or will it be diverted to the personal ends of those seeking financial profit or political power? Biotechnology is all that stands between a burgeoning world population and starvation. Already, ordinary milking cows are a disappearing species, plants are genetically matched to growing conditions, and plants are being engineered to kill the caterpillars that attack them. This program shows how this is done and explains its benefits, while warning of the dangers inherent in this and other efforts to alter natural evolution.
2007; 1988

Depleting the Gene Bank [electronic resource]

This program discusses the dangers of selecting and breeding better and better and fewer and fewer varieties. It explains the dangers of depleting the gene bank: when new diseases or predators appear, entire species may be wiped out because no naturally-resistant varieties remain; and the smaller number of varieties offered tend to omit the regionally well-adapted ones in favor of more generally adapted plants-another disaster waiting to happen. The hopeful side of agricultural experimentation is plant tissue culture, which is the model for an entirely new way to produce more and better plants, more quickly. The reality is that in agriculture, no fix is permanent-insect genetics are constantly changing, and agricultural geneticists are in a race against world starvation.
2008; 1988