Segments in this Video

Genetic Editing (02:39)


In 2018, He Jiankui announces he genetically altered the embryos of twin girls; the alteration will be hereditary. While ushering in a new era, the action sparks backlash.

Genomic Medicine (07:45)

Dr. Wendy Chung heads major health research projects. She meets with the family of children who have rare diseases. Susanna Rosen has a KIF1A gene anomaly; Chung explains her prognosis. (Credits)

Human Heredity (09:34)

Humankind questions similarities and differences; preformationism was one theory. In the 19th century, Gregor Mendel explores the laws of inheritance using pea plants. Theodor Boveri identifies chromosomes as the origin of genetic information and Wilhelm Johannsen labels them genes.

Patterns of Heredity (07:11)

In the 1910s, Thomas Hunt Morgan, a gene skeptic, experiments with fruit flies and learns that some traits are inherited together. He investigates the physical distance between genes. Alfred Sturtevant creates a genetic map.

Genetic Research (07:35)

After her son's death, Chung refocuses her career and identifies over 40 genetic causes of rare diseases. She and the Rosens look for a treatment for Susanna's KIF1A mutation. Luke Rosen creates an online community; they request a mouse for testing.

Eugenics (09:21)

Francis Galton considers breeding better humans. American eugenicists further Galton's theory and 32 states pass compulsory sterilization laws. Eugenics policies become pillars of Nazi ideology.

Genetic Determinism (05:08)

Erwin Schrödinger investigates how a gene works, thinking in terms of information technology. Oswald Avery runs experiments and determines DNA is the genetic code carrier.

Genetic Carrier (06:30)

James Watson and Francis Crick work to determine the structure of DNA. Rosalind Franklin uses X-ray crystallography to photograph DNA. Maurice Wilkins shows photograph 51 to Watson and he identifies a simple structure.

Molecular Structure (03:49)

Watson determines the shadow in Franklin's photograph is the result of a double helix structure. He and Crick try several times to recreate the structure before finding success; they and Wilkins win a Nobel Prize.

How is DNA Code Translated? (03:24)

Scientists determine that DNA is a master code that requires Ribonucleic Acid to copy genetic information and make functional proteins.

KIF1A Mutation (04:25)

Susana's seizures worsen and Luke takes her to the neurologist; another child with KIFA1 recently died after a seizure.

DNA, Illness, and Death (04:55)

Leonore Wexler displays signs of Huntington's disease; the illness kills Leonore, her father, and her brothers. Leonore's daughters have a 50% chance of developing Huntington's; Nancy Wexler looks for the gene mutation.

Gene Identification (10:27)

Using linkage, David Botstein tries to determine the relative location of genes based on patterns of inheritance. Nancy brings together a team of scientists to identify the mutated gene for Huntington's disease. They locate the mutation and can now test for the disease.

Genetic Marker and Engineering (11:04)

Several members of the Allen family have Huntington's disease; Jenny Sterne gets tested. Experts consider editing genetic code; Paul Berg creates a virus hybrid. Genetic engineering becomes an ethical debate and guidelines are established.

Biotech (04:50)

Much of the public does not trust genetic engineering. Bob Swanson and Herb Boyer establish Genentech Inc. to create new drugs by harnessing recombinant-DNA; the company starts with insulin. Other drugs soon become available.

Genetic Diseases (10:56)

Luke raises awareness of KIF1A. He and Chung search for a cure and learn about a Huntington's treatment; Pete Allen has been on the drug for a year. Sterne learns she does not have Huntington's.

Treatment Potential (02:54)

The company that developed the drug for Huntington's disease is working on one for KIF1A. Luke expresses hopes for Susanna's future.

Credits: The Gene: An Intimate History - Part One (00:60)

Credits: The Gene: An Intimate History - Part One

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Ken Burns Presents: The Gene: An Intimate History - Part 1

Part of the Series : Ken Burns Presents: The Gene: An Intimate History
3-Year Streaming Price: $339.90



The Gene: An Intimate History interweaves the story of the thrilling revolution in modern genetic science with powerful stories from the frontlines of medicine, featuring patients suffering from rare genetic diseases and the leading researchers racing to identify and treat, even cure, the errors in their DNA that afflict them.

Length: 114 minutes

Item#: FPT206186

Copyright date: ©2020

Closed Captioned

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