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The Life Scientific

244 EpisodesProduced by BBC Radio 4Website

Professor Jim Al-Khalili talks to leading scientists about their life and work, finding out what inspires them and asking what their discoveries might do for us in the future.


Ewan Birney

Ewan Birney talks to Jim Al-Khalili about his work on deciphering the human genome and the race to come up with the right number of genes that make us human. Ewan explains why he started a sweepstake to get fellow scientists to estimate the final number and why numbers were wildly wrong. He explains his role in the recent controversy over claims about the demise of 'Junk' DNA. He also talks about artificial DNA and whether it could be the future for information storage? With a colleague, he has already used a small speck of artificial DNA to store Shakespeare's sonnets. In theory, all of the world's information could be held on DNA in a space the size of a small room. If kept cold, dry and dark, DNA lasts for thousands of years so could it be the archive medium of the future?

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