DNA: Discovering the Blueprint
From the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
To high school science fair winner, Clara Westwell-Roper, the most important biological discovery of our times seems almost like prehistory: "DNA has gone from this mysterious structure that no one really knew about," she says, "to something that they're teaching in elementary school."
Fifty years ago, in a laboratory at Cambridge University, England, British scientist Francis Crick and his American colleague James Watson unravelled one of the great mysteries of modern times: the structure of Deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA, the secret blueprints of all living things. This concise documentary looks back at that astounding breakthrough, as well as some of the research that has followed from it. It also acknowledges recent scholarship indicating that a woman scientist, Rosalind Franklin, may have played an equally important though generally uncredited role in the discovery. Using x-ray crystallography, Franklin created photographic images of the DNA molecule which almost certainly gave Watson the crucial hint about its now-famous double-helix structure.
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DNA and Cystic Fibrosis: The stories of two teens with Cystic Fibrosis make the point that many of the medical breakthroughs seemingly promised by genetic science have yet to be achieved.
The Burden of Knowledge: Seven couples, healthcare and genetic specialists, and others explore the ethical and emotional implications of prenatal testing for genetic defects.
Deadly Inheritance: Examines the social and emotional issues involved in genetic testing, as it follows one family during their months-long wait for the results of the mother's test for Huntington's disease.
Banking Our Genes: Invites viewers to think about the ethical, public policy, and privacy issues involved in the collection and banking of DNA data about individuals.