“Cracking the Code of Life” is a PBS NOVA special that aired in 2001 to educate the general public about the Human Genome Project and the work that this project has accomplished in genetics and modern medical science. Not only does it bring up really important breakthroughs in genetics, such as being able to study and interpret genetic code via gene mapping with computer technology rather than by hand, but also brings up genetic disorders and how they actually affect families.
For example, a story regarding Tay-Sach’s Disease is highlighted, from talking about how it happens down to the genetics and then how this genetic disorder affects the family life. This brought up the more empathetic and ethical questions that are often considered when genetic disorders are researched or determined by prenatal testing. This is where I found this video to be very intriguing, and this is when the Human Genome Project gained a lot of purpose in my eyes. When I saw the story of the families affected by Tay-Sach’s Disease, I was very distraught at the idea that something so terrible could affect a human being and the family. At the same time, I found a sense of hope in hearing all of the progress that has been made in genetics, given that this video was released in 2001. Sixteen years later, genetics are up and coming with new breakthroughs each and every day, so I can only imagine what has been discovered since 2001, especially in regards to heartbreaking genetic disorders like Tay-Sach’s.
Also, this video really tied in well with our current unit of Genetics, making it all the more realistic and interesting to dive into! I can only hope that research will continue to be conducted, not necessarily to the benefit of big companies for money profit, but rather the general public and educators that can make a difference by spreading new and important information to others.
Watch the video here: