playlist

Should we redesign humans?

The age of bioengineering is upon us, with scientists' understanding of how to engineer cells, tissues and organs improving at a rapid pace. Here, how this could affect the future of our physical bodies.

  1. 18:50
    Juan Enriquez The next species of human

    Even as mega-banks topple, Juan Enriquez says the big reboot is yet to come. But don't look for it on your ballot — or in the stock exchange. It'll come from science labs, and it promises keener bodies and minds. Our kids are going to be ... different.

  2. 15:53
    Jennifer Doudna How CRISPR lets us edit our DNA

    Geneticist Jennifer Doudna co-invented a groundbreaking new technology for editing genes, called CRISPR-Cas9. The tool allows scientists to make precise edits to DNA strands, which could lead to treatments for genetic diseases … but could also be used to create so-called "designer babies." Doudna reviews how CRISPR-Cas9 works — and asks the scientific community to pause and discuss the ethics of this new tool.

  3. 17:52
    Anthony Atala Growing new organs

    Anthony Atala's state-of-the-art lab grows human organs — from muscles to blood vessels to bladders, and more. At TEDMED, he shows footage of his bio-engineers working with some of its sci-fi gizmos, including an oven-like bioreactor (preheat to 98.6 F) and a machine that "prints" human tissue.

  4. 6:19
    Nina Tandon Could tissue engineering mean personalized medicine?

    Each of our bodies is utterly unique, which is a lovely thought until it comes to treating an illness — when every body reacts differently, often unpredictably, to standard treatment. Tissue engineer Nina Tandon talks about a possible solution: Using pluripotent stem cells to make personalized models of organs on which to test new drugs and treatments, and storing them on computer chips. (Call it extremely personalized medicine.)

  5. 12:51
    Lisa Nip How humans could evolve to survive in space

    If we hope to one day leave Earth and explore the universe, our bodies are going to have to get a lot better at surviving the harsh conditions of space. Using synthetic biology, Lisa Nip hopes to harness special powers from microbes on Earth — such as the ability to withstand radiation — to make humans more fit for exploring space. "We're approaching a time during which we'll have the capacity to decide our own genetic destiny," Nip says. "Augmenting the human body with new abilities is no longer a question of how, but of when."

  6. 6:51
    Kevin Stone The bio-future of joint replacement

    Arthritis and injury grind down millions of joints, but few get the best remedy — real biological tissue. Kevin Stone shows a treatment that could sidestep the high costs and donor shortfall of human-to-human transplants with a novel use of animal tissue.

  7. 19:25
    Alan Russell The potential of regenerative medicine

    Alan Russell studies regenerative medicine — a breakthrough way of thinking about disease and injury, using a process that can signal the body to rebuild itself.

  8. 17:24
    Anthony Atala Printing a human kidney

    Surgeon Anthony Atala demonstrates an early-stage experiment that could someday solve the organ-donor problem: a 3D printer that uses living cells to output a transplantable kidney. Using similar technology, Dr. Atala's young patient Luke Massella received an engineered bladder 10 years ago; we meet him onstage.

  9. 14:52
    Molly Stevens A new way to grow bone

    What does it take to regrow bone in mass quantities? Typical bone regeneration — wherein bone is taken from a patient’s hip and grafted onto damaged bone elsewhere in the body — is limited and can cause great pain just a few years after operation. In an informative talk, Molly Stevens introduces a new stem cell application that harnesses bone’s innate ability to regenerate and produces vast quantities of bone tissue painlessly.

  10. 3:59
    Lucy McRae How can technology transform the human body?

    TED Fellow Lucy McRae is a body architect — she imagines ways to merge biology and technology in our own bodies. In this visually stunning talk, she shows her work, from clothes that recreate the body's insides for a music video with pop-star Robyn, to a pill that, when swallowed, lets you sweat perfume.

  11. 19:42
    Paul Root Wolpe It's time to question bio-engineering

    At TEDxPeachtree, bioethicist Paul Root Wolpe describes an astonishing series of recent bio-engineering experiments, from hybrid pets to mice that grow human ears. He asks: isn't it time to set some ground rules?

  12. 10:08
    Ellen Jorgensen Biohacking — you can do it, too

    We have personal computing, why not personal biotech? That’s the question biologist Ellen Jorgensen and her colleagues asked themselves before opening Genspace, a nonprofit DIYbio lab in Brooklyn devoted to citizen science, where amateurs can go and tinker with biotechnology. Far from being a sinister Frankenstein's lab (as some imagined it), Genspace offers a long list of fun, creative and practical uses for DIYbio.