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NOVA scienceNOW: Artificial Life

Program Overview


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Scientists discuss how they are attempting to construct simple life-forms in the laboratory, and they describe the potential benefits of specifically designed artificial life-forms.

This NOVA scienceNOW segment:

  • describes how scientists are trying to create tiny life-forms—converting nonlife into self-sustaining, living creatures.

  • notes that there has been no totally new life-form for about 3.5 billion years.

  • discusses the requirements for life—a container; the ability to grow or change using energy; the ability to reproduce; and for some, the ability to evolve.

  • shows how scientists combine the bases adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine to make DNA that self-assembles into a gene that codes for something specific, such as making bacteria glow green.

  • points out that some people are concerned about laboratory-created life and that others think it is important to proceed with the work because of its potential good.

Taping Rights: Can be used up to one year after the program is taped off the air.

Teacher's Guide
NOVA scienceNOW: Artificial Life
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