Lecture 2 – Am I a mutant?

Yes, you are a mutant. But so am I. And so is the mouse that we share 99% of our genes with. As our DNA replicates, mutations arise. Sometimes they can be catastrophic, but sometimes they confer a huge advantage. Falcons have eyes that allow them to see for miles, but ants are virtually blind.

How come? How are developmental processes altered over evolutionary time to produce novel structures and, ultimately, new species? The history of life revolves around survival of the fittest ‘mutant’. As we understand more about mutations it could help us devise new treatments for genetic conditions. But are we prepared to genetically engineer humans?

Supported by


© Royal Institution / Windfall Films




Alison Woollard



All lectures in the series