Program 1: The Tree of Life

As scientists map the human genome, they find the ancient DNA of microbes at the roots of our family tree. This hour follows the quest of scientists to understand how all life on the planet - from E. coli to azaelas to us - is related.

The Quest (Part 1 of 10)

Join Dr. Karl Stetter on a mission to find the closest living relative of the first life on Earth as he discovers a strain of bacteria he names "Thermatoga."

Solving the Puzzle (Part 2 of 10)

A new understanding of life on Earth has forced us to redraw the tree of life. Dr. Carl Woese and Norman Pace describe the process and challenges of categorizing microbial life.

Who We Are (Part 3 of 10)

Dr. Karen Nelson and Dr. Craig Venter map the genome of Thermatoga, the microbes Dr. Karl Stetter discovered in Episode 1 of this podcast, and find convincing evidence that Thermatoga's origins are very close to the beginning of life on Earth.

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