How the Krebs cycle powers life and death – with Nick Lane

From The Royal Institution.

What process animates cells and gives life to lifeless matter? What brings our own lives to an end? The Krebs cycle is the answer – and it could turn our picture of life on Earth upside down. Watch the Q&A here:

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For decades, biology has been dominated by information – the power of genes. Yet there is no difference in the information content between a living cell and one that died a moment ago.

Nick Lane takes us on a journey which turns the standard view upside down, capturing an extraordinary scientific renaissance that is hiding in plain sight.

At its core is an amazing cycle of reactions that uses energy to transform inorganic molecules into the building blocks of life – and the reverse.

To understand this cycle is to fathom the deep coherence of the living world. It connects the origin of life with the devastation of cancer, the first photosynthetic bacteria with our own mitochondria, sulfurous sludges with the emergence of consciousness, and the trivial differences between ourselves with the large-scale history of our planet.

This talk was recorded at the Royal Institution on 20 May 2022.

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