And what I thought I understood was this: virtually every living thing on the planet shares a set of supervisory genes, which act as regulators for hierarchical cascades of other genes. This genetic gearing system means that relatively small changes can have substantial effects in a body plan, allowing evolution to move much faster than had previously been assumed. It also means that a chemical messenger that operates in the construction of fruit-fly bodies can have astounding medical applications in humans. Administered in one spot it will promote bone growth, in another it will transform ordinary brain cells into dopamine-producers, offering the prospect of a cure for Parkinson's disease. The ice groaned very loudly here - it wasn't at all clear to me why you wouldn't inadvertently turn the Parkinson's sufferer into a bone-head - but the sense of being close to the edge of bafflement probably boosted the general thrill.
Silent Witness, (BBC1) back for a new series, opened with a molecular model of DNA, a kind of logo for scientific braininess which then neatly tied in to a lecture our heroine was giving about the fallibility of DNA evidence. Someone should write a thesis about the lecture scene in television drama - they are rarely very credible, but writers keep returning to them because they're such an easy way to underline the theme of a story or to deliver information.And, naturally, the story that followed was about fallibility - a two-part tale in which Sam Ryan finds that the murder victim she is called to examine is a close friend. Cue much agonising about professional detachment and posthumous fidelity and cue also a dangerous number of dramatic coincidences. Cambridge is a small place and collegiate Cambridge is even smaller, but even so there is something a little too convenient in the way that Ryan keeps bumping into people involved in the case she's working on. Shortly after she had left her last meeting with the murder victim, for example, a man staggered across her field of vision drenched in blood.
Had he been wearing a T-shirt saying "I'm an obvious suspect but don't jump to any hasty conclusions" the instructions to the viewer could not have been clearer.Reuse content