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The Rules of Life

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Static thumb frame of Animation of the structure of a section of DNA. The bases lie horizontally between the two spiraling strands.

Airs Thursday, August 24, 2017, at 6 p.m. What causes Alzheimer’s Disease? What causes cancers to form? Can we make jet fuel and plastics out of germs? To get these answers, scientists are working hard to uncover the rule book that governs every aspect of every living thing on Earth, from the molecular scale to the entirety of Earth’s ecosystems. The Rules of Life profiles leading American scientists engaged in this quest and explores how their work might crack the code that holds keys to huge questions like:

• How to make jet fuel and plastic bags out of E. Coli.
• How bird calls hold clues to understanding what causes Alzheimer’s disease and cancers to form.
• How planting an invasive species can actually help farmers by making thousands of bees show up in their fields.