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Heredity, Human
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The Human Influence [electronic resource]

This program illustrates how natural selection works to enable a species to adapt to adverse environments; shows how human breeding of desirable varieties-which antedates by millennia any theories of genetics or evolution-often overrode natural selection; demonstrates how species can be changed by artificial selection and in response to human interference with the environment; and explains the desirability of preserving the gene pool. After viewing the program, students should understand how environmental changes and artificial selection alter the random variability in a population, how breeders strengthen rather than create variation, and why it is so important to preserve the gene pool.
2005; 1988

The Origins of Darwin's Theory [electronic resource]

Sir Andrew Huxley-grandson of Darwin's great defender, Thomas Huxley-describes Darwin's motivations, discoveries, and search for a logical theory to explain his observations of both geological and biological evidence in South America, focusing on Darwin's importance as the first to present strong, scientific evidence for descent with modification and to posit a plausible mechanism for its occurrence, namely natural selection.
2008; 1992

The Record of the Rocks [electronic resource]

This program shows the process of sedimentation, which has preserved those life forms extant at the time the rock was formed and-most strikingly where the Colorado River has cut through the Grand Canyon-exposes a veritable history of life on earth; presents the stratified evidence that simple organisms populated the earth first, followed by increasingly complex forms; demonstrates modern techniques for dating rock samples; and explains why fossils provide important evidence of the theory of evolution. After viewing the program, students should understand the mechanisms that made possible the Colorado River rock record, where the oldest and youngest rocks are and why, how the absolute age of rocks is determined, and the nature and extent of the record provided by rocks.
2008; 1988

The Theory of Inheritance [electronic resource]

Darwin's theory of natural selection, to be valid, required explanations for both the origin of variation and for the inheritance of variants. John Maynard Smith explains Lamarck's theory of the inheritance of acquired characteristics (in which Darwin believed), Weismann's theory of separate inheritance lines of germ and soma, Mendel's experiments and explanations, and the discovery of the role of DNA in the transmission of genetic information.
2005; 1992

Tissue Engineering [electronic resource]: Custom-Made Organs on Demand

Still in its infancy, tissue engineering has already made it possible to grow human-based substitutes for basic bodily systems. In this program, experts from MIT, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Advanced Tissue Sciences, a commercial leader in tissue engineering technology, focus on synthesized skin and arteries, as well as cellular growth-inducing patches. Applications of these products for burn victims and people with diabetes are demonstrated. In addition, industry challenges including government regulation, mass production, and the forming of strategic alliances for research and distribution are addressed.
2006; 1999

Understanding the Basic Concepts of Genetics [electronic resource]

After recapping the contributions of Schwann, Schleiden, Crick, Watson, and Wilkins, this program investigates the basic concepts of genetics. First, protein composition and the role of proteins in cell structure are described. Next, chromosomal differences between the sexes and the structure and function of DNA are examined, along with the concept of base pairing. Third, protein transcription and translation, gene expression, and meiosis-including crossover and independent assortment-are presented. An animated depiction of the fertilization process and the development of the fetus completes the program.
2005; 1997

Why Not Clone a Human? [electronic resource]: Ethical Challenges of Biotechnology

One day very soon, ordinary people could have the ability to choose their children's genes and perhaps even grow themselves completely new body parts. In this program, ABC News anchor Ted Koppel and correspondent Robert Krulwich examine the breakthrough science behind cloning and delve into the ethical dilemmas surrounding advances in genetic science. Interviews with Harvard's Stephen Jay Gould, Princeton University's Lee Silver, and others raise questions on topics including the sanctity of personal identity, the widespread implications of prenatal testing, and the impact of genetic engineering on parent/child bonding.
2007; 1999

Sequencing Life [electronic resource]

Both a public consortium of researchers and a private U.S. company successfully decoded the human genetic blueprint. In this program, Doctors Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project, and J. Craig Venter, CEO of Celera Genomics, discuss the completion of the mapping of the human genome and what that achievement means for the future of medicine. Initial discoveries indicate that the structure of human DNA is simpler but its functions far more complex than previously imagined.
2006; 2001

Playing God [electronic resource]: Human Cloning

Will human cloning provide a panacea for ailments and diseases or usher in a nightmarish world of eugenics and designer people? This program presents an in-depth exploration of the ethical concerns regarding human cloning, a technology that has already prompted heated debate over its potential uses and abuses. A variety of perspectives are canvassed from the theological, legal, and scientific fields, including interviews with Dr. Ian Wilmut, the first scientist to successfully clone a mammal-Dolly, a sheep.
2005; 2000

Designer Babies [electronic resource]: Dangers of Corporate Genetics

Imagine a future in which physical strength and assertiveness are the top-selling items on "baby menus." This program explores that possibility and other frightening implications of market-driven genetic engineering. Showing how the government-funded Human Genome Project has become highly lucrative for pharmaceutical companies, the video examines cases of exploitative gene harvesting in Iceland and Peru, where isolated ethnic populations contain commercially valuable DNA. Interviews with prominent scientists and activists highlight the dangers of patenting genomic data and an absence of public discourse about artificial gene selection.

Careers in the Life Sciences [electronic resource]

The next leader in the fight against cancer may be sitting in third-period Biology right now-but what will inspire his or her first steps into medicine? This video illustrates the awesome potential of a career in the life sciences, guiding students through fields that offer nearly unlimited possibilities for discovery. From the microscopic world of DNA, to the dazzlingly complex behavior of ants, to the mysteries of human physiology, the program explores the accomplishments of several life science trailblazers. A geneticist, a molecular biologist, a neuroscientist, and an entomologist are featured, as well as a venture capitalist who oversees pioneering pharmaceutical research. Recommended for grades 6-12.

Who's Afraid of Designer Babies? [electronic resource]: The Ethics of Genetic Screening

PGD, or pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, allows doctors and parents to screen brand-new embryos for genetic diseases. This program illustrates the PGD process and what it implies-from lifesaving medical solutions to what many see as the Nazi-esque disposal of life. The experiences of couples considering or undergoing PGD are featured-including the story of Leanne and Stephen, who ignited controversy in Australia by screening for a son who could donate blood to his ailing older brother. Interviews with bioethics experts, including Oxford professor Julian Savulescu and Dr. Francis Fukuyama of Johns Hopkins University, elucidate both sides of the debate.
2006; 2004

Holding Back the Years? [electronic resource]: Race to Slow the Aging Process

This program airs conflicting viewpoints of biologists, nutritionists, and geriatric experts as it presents efforts being made to dramatically slow the process of aging. Factors impacting the rate of aging and bodily changes associated with aging are analyzed, and insights into the telomere hypothesis, the oxidative stress hypothesis, and hormone depletion associated with aging are provided. Research into telomere elongation is discussed, and two controversial therapies-calorie restriction and hormone replacement-are debated. A visit to a documented longevity village in Japan, home to 112-year-old Yoko Minagawa, is included as well.

Peas in a Pod [electronic resource]

Mapping the human genome is one achievement in a long line of scientific milestones. This intro-level program explores discoveries in the 18th and 19th centuries that gave birth to the science of genetics. Focusing on the work of Carl Linnaeus, Gregor Mendel, and Josef Kolreuter, the program shows how the basic laws of inheritance were established, highlighting the importance of Linnaean taxonomy and Mendel's revolutionary notion that there is a double set of genetic instructions. Detailed discussions of the four-letter genetic code, the concepts of phenotype and genotype, and Mendel's life and working methods are featured, along with an overview of the impact of genetic engineering.
2006; 2003

Microscopes and Mutants [electronic resource]

As the 19th century gave way to the 20th, genetics came into its own as a science. This intro-level program shows how the development of the microscope pushed genetic studies forward, and includes in-depth discussion of early cell theory, particularly the first observations of meiosis and mitosis. Exploring Thomas Morgan Hunt's findings involving Drosophila mutation, the program covers sex-linked inheritance, the discovery of the X and Y chromosomes in the early 1900s, chromosomal roles in the transmission of genetic material, the importance of gene-mapping, and ways in which the science of genetics has been co-opted, particularly in the dead-end study of eugenics.
2006; 2003

The DNA Obsession [electronic resource]

One of the most important stories in genetics is the race to understand DNA. This intro-level program guides viewers through that story, focusing on the biological and chemical processes central to the transfer of genetic material. Beginning in the middle of the 19th century, the program describes how competing scientists in Europe and America zeroed in on the DNA molecule and determined its structure. Friedrich Miescher's identification of "nuclein," Frederick Griffith's pneumococcus studies, Joshua Lederberg's analysis of bacteria reproduction, and James Watson and Francis Crick's double-helix configuration highlight the obsession, rivalry, and collaboration that drive scientific discovery.
2006; 2003

The Gene Machine [electronic resource]

Expanding on the subject of DNA, this intro-level program explores the central processes that govern the continuation of all life. Beginning with a discussion of Watson and Crick's pivotal 1953 paper describing the structure of DNA and its possible role in heredity, the program describes Crick's collaboration with Sydney Brenner in solving the DNA-to-protein puzzle and the role of RNA in protein synthesis. Mutagenic agents, restriction enzymes and plasmids, and the use of bacteria as model systems for genetic engineering are explored. The film also highlights the emergence of controversy resulting from genetic experimentation with higher organisms.
2006; 2003

The Seeds of a New Era [electronic resource]

Shedding light on today's biotech revolution, this intro-level program examines the controversies surrounding genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, specifically in agriculture. The program explains the process of modification using crown gall disease and Agrobacterium tumefaciens as models to demonstrate how genetic engineering works in plants. Marker genes, DNA constructs, promoters, ligase, restriction enzymes, and the real-world agricultural applications of transgenic plants are analyzed. The film clearly shows that, regarding the long-term use of GMOs and their products, farms are both working laboratories and ethical battlegrounds.
2006; 2003

The NewsHour [electronic resource]: Human Biology

Genetic and neurological research has led to increasingly sophisticated medical capabilities-resulting in a growing number of moral and ethical quandaries. This cluster of NewsHour segments surveys recent milestones in biology-many of which have produced as much controversy as insight. Reporting on the newly-identified anti-aging gene SIR2 and the cross-species implantation of stem cells, the program also inquires into artificial limb technology, the dynamics of the teenage brain, and the storage of environmental toxins in the human body. A visit to the American Bible Belt, including Kentucky's Creationist Museum, highlights the ongoing debate over human origins. Original
2007; 2005

Bioinformatics, Genomics, and Proteomics [electronic resource]: Getting the Big Picture

If the 20th century was the era of physics and nuclear fission, the 21st belongs to the life sciences. Moving from gene, to genome, to genetically based diseases, 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. Are genetically personalized drugs around the next corner? Commentary is provided by Bob Forgey, of ProNAi Therapeutics; Bill Worzel and Jeanne Orhnberger, of Genetics Squared; and Drs. Brian Athey and Elliott Hill, of the University of Michigan.