Don't miss




Ireland: The forgotten Angels of Tuam

Read more


S.Africa's former President Zuma to face corruption charges

Read more


'60 Minutes' to air interview with porn actress aledging affair with Trump

Read more


In Africa, French is more than a common language

Read more


Poisoned Relations: UK sanctions Russia over nerve agent attack

Read more


Behind the scenes at France's majestic Chantilly castle

Read more

#THE 51%

#MeToo in South Korea

Read more


Russia's opposition weakened as Putin looks set for fourth term

Read more


Fantasy novelist Robin Hobb among guests at France's biggest book fair

Read more


We meet the people behind fascinating environmental, health and technological innovations in a bid for sustainable solutions to our changing world. Saturday at 7.20 pm. Or you can catch it online from Friday.

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



2018-03-08 Recycling

Plastic: Does France have a recycling problem?

When it comes to sorting and recycling plastic waste, France has some catching up to do. Less than 25% of plastic packaging is recycled, while the rest is incinerated or put in...

Read more

2018-02-16 aviation

Is the aviation industry free-riding on climate change efforts?

In the fight against climate change, more and more sectors are hopping on board the global movement to protect the planet. But one industry is an exception to the rule: the...

Read more

2018-01-30 Bitcoin

Could Bitcoin cost us our clean energy future?

Gone are the days when it was just a currency for geeks. 2017 was without a doubt the year of the ubiquitous Bitcoin. In the past year, investors have flocked to the highly...

Read more

2018-01-16 Smartphone

How ethical is your smartphone?

In the last decade, more than seven billion smartphones of all makes have been produced in the world, almost as many people as there are on the planet. On average we upgrade our...

Read more

2017-12-15 Natural disaster

Was 2017 the worst year for the environment?

Floods, droughts, hurricanes and wildfires: 2017 stood out for both the number and intensity of extreme weather events. But were the last twelve months more catastrophic for the...

Read more