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Double helix the DNA years. Pt.1.

  • Videos

About this work


Introduced by science historian Evelyn Fox Keller, the film begins with a clip from 'The Cambridge Story' (1953?), showing Francis Crick and James Watson, two of the scientists responsible for the discovery of the structure of DNA. The film continues with many other archive clips which include Maurice Wilkins explaining his difficulties in working with Rosalind Franklin and, in another clip, demonstrating x-ray crystallography. These are linked by a voice-over narrative and comments from scientists Richard Dawkins, Lewis Wolpert, Steve Jones, Psychologist Stephen Pinker and neurobiologist Kenan Malik. The programme then traces the change in ideas about genetic superiority that was brought about by the work of anthropologist Margaret Meade. While greater understanding of DNA increased comprehension of what it is to be human, her fieldwork in Samoa and Papua New Guinea promoted the idea that humanity was capable of many varieties of culture, equally valid. The importance attached to a biological past gave way to acceptance of the importance of nurture and the appreciation of human possibility.


United Kingdom : BBC 4 Television, 2003.

Physical description

1 video cassette (VHS) (60 min.) : sound, color, PAL

Copyright note

BBC Television.



  • English


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