Dr Adam Rutherford presents a remarkable account of how we are trying to replicate some key processes in nature. He visits a university research farm in America and meets a new creature called a spider goat. It is largely goat but part spider, so that its milk will yield a thread similar to that in a spider’s web, with valuable properties. This example sows the seeds of a tension that sustains through the film, of whether something being possible scientifically means we should necessarily pursue it, whether the potential advantages outweigh the doubts about manipulating nature.
This is a new field of research called synthetic biology, with a radical aim; to break down nature into spare parts so that we can rebuld however we please. This technology is already being used to make bio-diesel to power cars. Other researchers are looking at how we might one day control human emotions by sending “biological machines” into our brains.
Presenter: Dr Adam Rutherford
Writer and Producer: Matthew Dyas
Horizon Editor/Executive Producer: Aidan Laverty
PLAYING GOD is being shown as part of the 2012 European Science TV and New Media Festival at 12:01 on Friday 13th July 2012. A full festival programme can be found here.