The Gene Code
Sunday, 8.30pm, SBS One In 2001 Bill Clinton announced scientists had mapped our genome, the genetic code that makes us human. It signalled the start of a transformation of biology and genetics, creating opportunities to identify genes that are not working as they should and to start working out why. But the brave world of medicine Clinton predicted has not quite worked out as optimistically as anticipated. Sure, the technology to map some of an individual’s DNA, all three billion letters of it, is now commonplace, giving everybody, well everybody scientifically literate, the ability to identify when a single gene that is out of whack causes a disease. However, reading and understanding the code are not the same thing. For years scientists assumed only the 2 per cent to 3 per cent of DNA that makes the proteins make us what we are and that the rest is just junk. Not so. Now the challenge is to work out the multiple variants that cause most diseases and the answer appears to be in the 98 per cent of the genome that isn’t genes. So now all the genomes are being sequenced and it seems the non-coding DNA, the ‘‘ dark matter’’ of the genome, is what drives disease. In essence, the breakthrough a decade back was just a start — what makes our bodies tick is far more complex than anybody thought and we now know more about how ignorant we are. the guards. (And gosh, what a surprise, the terrorists are after an impenetrable encryption unit!) Section 20 has satellite surveillance and an intelligence system that would impress Google, is never on the fritz and always accurate. But in the end it comes down to them hitting harder and shooting straighter than the villains. The team blazes away in a chase through a shantytown without hitting passers-by or attracting the attention of the local coppers. (A later city street shoot-out is less successful.)The plot is less thin than translucent with comic book villains, and the violence is as brutal as it is impossible. But the gratuitous nudity will appeal to male adolescents of all ages. Clooney, version. In the end a businessman who inherited his money loses. Well, this is post-global financial crisis. But the best bit is at the end where being a lovable rogue isn’t enough. Perhaps not worth staying up for, but one for the recorder.