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Calais Migrant Camp Dismantled: Short-term solution to long-term problem? (part 1)

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Calais Migrant Camp Dismantled: Short-term solution to long-term problem? (part 2)

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The attack of the magpies in Australia and viral videos of the ghanaian presidential election

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Trump advisor: 'Muslim Americans would be first to help with immigrant vetting'

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Belgian region defies EU over CETA free trade deal

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We travel to meet the people behind fascinating environmental, health and technological innovations in a bid for sustainable solutions to our changing world. Saturday at 6.10 pm.



Latest update : 2013-10-02

Synthetic biology: Creating life from scratch

A pioneering science is offering researchers the possibility to design and engineer new forms of life on a made-to-order basis. This week we head to the United Kingdom to explore the boundless potential of synthetic biology.

Synthetic biology can be likened to a game of Lego with a biological twist, where scientists build organisms from scratch to tackle challenges in the domains of energy, health or technology. Some have described the field as "genetic engineering on steroids".

If we consider that genetic modification involves cutting a DNA sequence from an organism and splicing it into another, then synthetic biology goes much further.

This new way of doing science means treating DNA sequences as spare parts which can be arranged in millions of different ways, going well beyond the genes found in nature. This artificial DNA can be used to produce everything from medicine to fuels to textiles. The only limit is our imagination.

But critics are questioning whether mankind is prepared for the consequences of this unparalleled control over nature. 

By Mairead DUNDAS , Marina BERTSCH , Juliette LACHARNAY , Emilie COCHAUD



2016-07-14 women

Women and work: Why parity could add trillions to global growth

The world is a better place for women and girls in 2016 than even a decade ago. But that's not the case for everyone, and certainly not everywhere. Access to job opportunities is...

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2016-07-01 environment

Extinction crisis: Saving the planet's species from an irreversible fate

Species are disappearing faster than at any time since the dinosaurs' demise. Scientists are calling it the sixth mass extinction and it's largely driven by man. This week the...

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2016-06-10 drones

Drones to the rescue: How pilotless aircraft are saving lives

Historically known for taking lives, drones are now emerging as one of the most promising tools for health and emergency services.

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2016-05-27 Sustainable development

Plastic planet: Using today's resources tomorrow

This week Down to Earth explores the alarming rate in which plastic has plastered the planet. Since it was invented a century ago the petroleum-based material has invaded all...

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2016-05-13 Senegal

Senegal: Lighting the way for off-grid communities

In this new episode of "Down to Earth", we head to Senegal, where only three out of five households have access to electricity

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