In the non-coding 98% of our DNA, we have countless switches to promote or suppress the physiological reactions of our bodies. Interestingly, we can change the states of these switches through our own efforts and even can affect the DNA conditions of our offspring before their birth.
Never in the history of humanity have so many of us been mobile, never has our demand for fast, efficient and safe transportation been so high, and never have we relied so heavily on technology to deliver. New innovations propel us into the world of self-driving cars and high-speed trains.
Comedian Jimmy Carr takes over Horizon for this one-off special programme, produced as part of BBC2's sitcom season. Jimmy turns venerable documentary strand Horizon into a chat show, with eminent laughter scientists as guests and a studio audience to use as guinea pigs. Jimmy and his guests try to get to the bottom of what laughter is, why we enjoy it so much and what, if anything, it has to do with comedy. Between them, and with the help of contributions from other scientists on film, Jimmy and guests discover that laughter is much older than our species, and may well have contributed to making us human. With professors Sophie Scott, Robin Dunbar and Peter McGraw.
The media have been talking about “genetically modified humans” and “designer babies.” But what they’re really talking about is germ-line engineering: a process that could help eliminate heritable diseases. So why do some scientists want to pause the research?