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Monday 21 March Editing the Genome #2
There is a new genetic technology which promises to revolutionise agriculture and transform our influence over the natural world. Research is well underway to create pigs and chickens immune to pandemic influenza, cereals which make their own fertiliser and mosquitoes engineered to wipe out wild populations of the insects which transmit diseases to humans. These are just three examples of what we could create with CRISPR gene editing. Should we be worried about this unprecedented power over animals and plants? The potential for good is enormous. The ethical challenges are profound. Professor Matthew Cobb of the University of Manchester explores the brave new world of CRISPR gene editing.
Tuesday 22 March Batman and Ethan
Ethan was born blind. He is now a 10 year-old boy who collects sounds on his 51 dictaphones, composes music, and performs on stage in concerts. Until now he has been home-schooled, but last year he was offered a place at St Mary's Music School in Scotland - one of the best in the country. The problem is he struggles to get around. Daniel Kish - nicknamed Batman, like Ethan,is also blind. He is a master of echolocation. He makes clicking noises - like a bat - to build a picture of the world around him. Neuroscientists have done experiments on him and found that he has managed to activate the visual part of his brain. He has taught people all over the world to "see through sound" and he is so good at it that he goes hiking, cycling and rock-climbing. "Batman" (Daniel) comes to Scotland to spend 10 days with Ethan, to teach him echolocation and help him prepare for his new school. The documentary follows Ethan's progress as he learns from Daniel Kish.
Wednesday 23 March The People's Billionaire
The BBC’s former North America Editor Justin Webb explores Donald Trump’s political roots and tries to discover how does an Ivy League educated billionaire manages to appeal to people from across the political spectrum.
Thursday 24 March Lynn Hill - Twenty-First Century War Poet
Lynn Hill was an active participant in both Iraq and Afghanistan. She spent much of her military career flying Predator drones, gathering intelligence and firing missiles remotely some 12,000 miles away - from a central station in Las Vegas. Her brilliant poetry talks of the difficult task of separating her real life from her war life. About hate and insanity, violence and nihilism. About dreams and being involved in war via a screen. About seeing yourself in the third person. About some of the very serious problems faced by her 21st Century war colleagues - divorce, alcohol, psychiatric illness, crises of identity.