In this astonishing hour-long BBC documentary released just a month ago, David Tennant narrates the story of what happens when our basic components – cells – come under attach from a virus (in this case, a common respiratory disease-causing virus, the adenovirus).
Not only is it brilliantly beautiful, but also educational – we don’t just see various spherical (or not) objects interacting, but the molecular details making them up. And it’s genuinely thrilling – I was more gripped watching this than I have been watching major Hollywood blockbusters. Yes, I’m a giant nerd in some ways (especially about this stuff), but it’s also really that good.
When I was doing my molecular biology degree earlier this century, we had nothing so detailed. We had to rely on diagrams and our imagination to provide an understanding of how everything interacted – I’m glad to say, I appear to have gotten it right. Happy thought :)
Well, here’s a fun little treat for your 10:30 teatime today.
Anybody following the science news in the last week or two will have heard of the ENCODE results. Basically, we’re just taken a big step towards understanding the complexity of the human genome, and how it all works. Which is good for a bunch of things, including disease treatment.
What is this big step? Well, thanks to ENCODE, we now have a much better idea of how our genes are _controlled_ (or regulated, if you want to use the proper term). It’s all quite complicated, but very interesting.
And now, brilliant comedian Tim Minchin* has produced a video, with nature, called ‘The Story of You: ENCODE and the human genome ‘. Watch and enjoy :)
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