Ragtag Cinema Columbia, MO


Dr. Amanda Durbak

Associate Teaching Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri

Teknolust— Genetics and cloning: Bringing fiction into reality

As our understanding of genes and genetics deepens, scientists are revealing real-life discoveries that rival some of the most fantastic science fiction from the past. Can we actually bring back dinosaurs? Is it possible to clone organs, or even whole humans?

Dr. Amanda Durbak, Associate Teaching Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri, discusses the basics of cloning, genetic engineering, and genome editing, exploring the genetics behind some of these topics, how cutting edge technology like genome editing may actually allow us to bring fiction into reality, and some of the ethics that still need to be fleshed out.

Ragtag Cinema Columbia, MO

Film Synopsis

A bio-geneticist has created a type of Self Replicating Automaton, which looks like a human being, but is in fact part machine and part living organism.

Anxious to use artificial life to improve the world, bio-geneticist Rosetta Stone (Tilda Swinton) downloads her own DNA into her computer and succeeds in breeding three Self Replicating Automatons that are part human, part intelligent machines. The SRAs act as 'portals' on the Internet, helping users to fulfill their dreams. Because they were bred only with Rosetta's DNA, they need the balance of a Y chromosome, or male sperm, to survive. This futuristic comedy puts a hilarious spin on contemporary advancements in science and technology.

About the Speaker

Dr. Amanda Durbak earned a PhD in 2010 from the University of Arizona. Her research experience in plant molecular genetics and development has led to an interest in teaching genetics and cell biology. Genetics and cell biology are two foundational courses in the study of biology, critical for understanding and performing more advanced work in many other areas. However, whether teaching genetics, cell biology, or General Biology for non-majors, her main concerns in any class are to teach students how to think critically and to promote a genuine interest and understanding of why science is important! Science is an essential component to our everyday lives, whether realized or not, and Durbak’s goal for each class is to have my students finish the course with not only a better understanding of how the natural world works, but also the ability to communicate that knowledge with other scientists, and more importantly the world at large.