Genesis 2.0

122 min. In Russian w/English subtitles. Christian Frei & Maxim Arbugaev, dist. by KimStim, www.kimstim.com. 2018. DVD $99.95; acad. libs. w/PPR $345; DSL $445. SCI
The controversial topic of synthetic biology is fully explored in this video, and it's both fascinating and troubling. A fringe science less than 20 years ago, genetic engineering is creeping toward mainstream. Like it or not, food, animals, and ultimately humans will be spliced and crafted by strangers in sterile rooms with artificial lighting. This isn't science fiction dystopia, it's already happening. Nature used to be the sole creator of life, but one day soon, if Genesis 2.0 can be believed, it will be in laboratories where creation occurs. The documentary also spends considerable time with desperate tusk hunters on remote and dangerous Arctic islands as they search for undamaged tusks valuable on the ivory market. The shifting between the modern and the rudimentary is jarring, but ultimately these twinned topics make sense in their connection—both are extremes.
VERDICT Equal parts thought provoking and frightening, Genesis 2.0 takes viewers deep into the world of synthetic biology.
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