Every living thing – humans, animals, plants or a single cell – eventually dies, but why? How do cells know when to die? What controls the ageing process and could we ever halt it? Developmental biology and genetics give us new insights into how cells work and what happens when genes switch on and off.
Can we use this knowledge to improve or even extend life? And what are the ethical issues if we do? Would you really want to live forever?
Your life stems from a single cell. Yet within the trillion of cells that make up your body lies a fundamental conundrum. Each cell contains identical DNA but how does each of your cells ‘know’ exactly what to do? And when? And where?