Babbage: The building blocks of life

From the hive of molecular activity inside every cell to how cells self-organise into complex living things and those organisms evolve into different species, host Kenneth Cukier explores the fundamental architecture of life. He also investigates how the power of stem cells could be used to treat genetic diseases and why there is still debate about the origins of modern humans.

With Geoffrey Carr, The Economist’s science editor; Dr Alison Woollard, professor of biochemistry at Oxford University; Dr Alena Pance of the Wellcome Sanger Institute of genomics; and Dr Viviane Slon, a paleogeneticist at the University of Tel Aviv.

Subscribers can read our essay series exploring how life works from the scale of the molecule all the way up to that of the planet at 

For full access to The Economist’s print, digital and audio editions subscribe at and sign up for our new weekly science newsletter at

Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit for more information.