How Does CAPTAIN AMERICA’s Super-Soldier Serum Work? (Because Science w/ Kyle Hill)
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How Does CAPTAIN AMERICA’s Super-Soldier Serum Work? (Because Science w/ Kyle Hill)

There isn’t a whole lot chemicals can do
for you if you decide to jump on a grenade to save your army buddies. But what modern
chemistry and genetics might be able to do, at least some day, is turn you from skinny
private into Captain America. First off, let’s not call what Steve Rogers
was injected with a “serum,” that’s usually some milky yellow mixture that can
be isolated from blood that’s not plasma, although calling it a super serum does sound cool—wait this kinda looks like pee, can we change that? Next, we need to know what Super-Soldier juice—that
doesn’t sound right at all—Super-Soldier FORMULA actually does. In the Marvel universe, the first Super-Soldier
formula was created as a part of Operation: Rebirth by scientist Abraham Erskine, and
was given intravenously to Steve Rogers. After administration, Rogers was placed in a vita-ray
chamber and was bombarded with radiation. He emerged not super-human, but at the absolute
peak of possible human performance. We don’t know what was exactly in this formula,
but we can speculate based on the effects it produces in Cap. Whatever it was, it would
have to mess with Cap’s genes. Dr. Sebastian Alvarado, who you might recognize
from my video on the Hulk’s hue, has a theory about this too and it’s based on the fact
that we actually know what genes in our DNA are associated with things like muscle growth
and how much oxygen our blood can carry. So, if we could inject him with a formula
that suppresses certain genes and hyper-activates other ones, we could induce something like
Cap’s amazing transformation. As Dr. Alvarado points out, one way to have
the Super-Soldier formula seek out and change a part of Captain’s DNA would be with the
technique, something like “CRISPR,” or “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic
repeats”. It’s a way to add or delete information from our genetic blueprint. The CRISPR technique is based on how bacteria
protect themselves from viruses. When viral DNA is detected, the bacteria sends out two
single strands of RNA and then using a protein called Cas9, locates a section of that DNA
with the same code. The RNA then locks on to that piece and cuts it there, disabling
it. Scientists then figured out that this same
process could be used to add or delete genetic information from any organism, including humans.
The CRISPR technique could cut DNA, deactivating some gene but it could also cut DNA and provide
another copy, a mutated copy of that gene to change the way that it’s expressed. Since we know what genes are associated with
things like muscle growth and athletic performance, using a technique like CRISPR could feasibly
beef up Steve Rogers. But the secret Super-Soldier program has no
time for lengthy clinical trials and incremental improvements. That’s where the so-called
“vita-rays” come in. Researchers are still tinkering with this
technique, but light-activated drug delivery systems are something that we’re looking
into. The idea is that first some nano-scale material would house some drug or medicine. Then when hit with a certain wavelength of
light, these materials would open up in some way and deliver their drugs inside to a patient
at a specific place in their body or at a specific time . If Steve Rogers was injected with some gene-editing
formula inside some light-activated nano-materials, then feasibly the Super-Soldier formula and
vita-chamber could work in tandem to create the perfect soldier. But that kind of work
is decades away. Why? Because Science. Hail Hydra. Want more science? Check out my last video on how Daredevil can fight crime without being able to see Subscribe to Nerdist for more videos. If you want Because Science two days earlier than anyone else subscribe to Vessel at And as always if you have any comments or questions, hit me up in the comments section below. Thanks!

100 thoughts on “How Does CAPTAIN AMERICA’s Super-Soldier Serum Work? (Because Science w/ Kyle Hill)

  1. Light activated drugs, eh? And why not? When I had my tooth filled they used a solution that dries and hardens when exposed to blue light. If it can be done for dentistry there's no reason it can't be done for pharmacology, save that the inside of a human tends to be rather dark.

  2. I would say Captain America is a grey area between superhuman and well trained human because he is far stronger than any person could train to be but he technically doesn't have any super powers. "But that kind of work is decade way." You mean decades from WW2? As in right about…….. now.

  3. I just thought of this how good is the process to make cap a super soldier compared with let's say the master chief from halo now yes it's true most of chiefs abilities come from his armor but underneath that he is a legitimate super soldier so then my question is which process is superior for creating a super soldier?

  4. if the formula only brought cap to the absolute peek of human ability and performance that would then suggest that a human in peek physical condition could do what cap does. including lifting a steal beam weighing tens of thousands of pounds. I would agree yes humans are able to do some amazing things but I doubt any of us could do such a thing. Paul Anderson lifted the heaviest weight back in 1957. he lifted 6,270 lbs or 2,840kg. cap in the winter solder movie lifted, I'll be it only slightly, a steal beam that would have weighed well over 10tons. I would like to see an example video of the max amount a human could lift. then maybe compare it to cap. when I say max of course I mean before things happen to the body, like broken bones or heart failure. unless you've done this already and i just haven't seen it yet. actually why not do a video examining the absolute maximum a human could reach before physical failure. like how fast you could run, how much you could lift, how hard you could punch and so on. that would be interesting.

  5. couldnt you do this with a retro virus too except the virus would have to make its way to every cell in your body

  6. I have one question about Cap´s shield. I think, there is a big mistake. My point is: If you fire bullet at Cap´s shield, the bullet will be stopped, because… vibranium. But you can look at this interaction from the other side. If you throw Cap´s shield at any (non moving) bullet, shield should stop, because vibranium absorbs kinetic energy of that impact. That means that all these great scenes, when Captain threw his shield at soldiers, do not make sense, because from physical approach vibranium should absord kinetic energy of impact and it doesn´t matter if something has been thrown at shield or shield has been thrown at something.

  7. Finally, I was able to find out how your table works. In fact, it's not working at all, just the Image is mirrored. Kyle can see what he draw, and, after the mirroring, we can read what he draw. BECAUSE SCIENCE! (Just watch the direction of the nobs from his shirt to get the proof)

  8. Captain America's Bio may claim that he was just enhanced to be the epitome of human potential but I think he is clearly way into the "superhuman" range.

  9. Yeah, cause a human in peak condition can split logs and stop helicopters from taking off. Or punch Ultron hard enough to send him flying several meters. Or fight toe to toe with iron man. Or any other ridiculous feat.

  10. So, if someone rewrites your DNA, are you still the same person if you brain cells change? Or do you technically die and someone else with your memories and personality just inherits your body?

  11. I'm pretty sure he's capable of performing feats of strength to a super human level. No athlete, regardless of training could ever stop a helicopter from lifting off, or push a military vehicle with a single front kick.

    Maybe the original captain America from the 616 comics in the 1940's was created to be at peak human physical condition however modern comics and film representation has allowed him to be a little more than that.

  12. Couldnt you technically just have to now make a female super soldiers to go along with cap, Have kids, and then the kids will be super soldiers since its 2 identical gened parents that are super soldiers?

  13. Cool video Kyle. My problem with the movie version of Captain America's origin story isn't that it works but that it worked almost instantaneously. Where did all that mass come from? How did Cap's brain rewrite itself instantly?

  14. hay kyle, you should do a video about how would quicksilver run on the side of a wall in the kitchen scene of x men days of future past.

  15. I can't believe that I am the first


  16. But when was he so well trained? After he was buffed up did it improve his memory and cognitive function too? His combat abilities can go toe-to-toe with Iron Man! It seemed like he was also instantly successful at martial combat!

  17. if this ever becomes a thing in the future. i will be getting this Idgaf i cant stand my thin small muscle body type. i dont remember the name for it but i hate it

  18. But how did skinny cap get the requeried amount of ATP for extensive cellular preforation without deteoration even if got that somehow how could his bone cells grow without making his super "old"?

  19. I think that science is getting so close with DNA that maybe the next two years they can probably well come up with a super serum play Captain America

  20. They are already at the peak of being able to make whatever baby you would like changing things you don't want

  21. When I watch Kyle's videos I'm left with this uneasy feeling that Thor is narcing on the other Avengers and building up his own mythos…just a theory

  22. You know it makes me wonder considering China is a Rich enough communist country with no regard for human rights I can only imagine what kind of experiments are being done there in secret including but not limited to cloning humans and altering strands of the DNA to see just what happens

  23. So Basically Dr. Erkstein was ahead of everyone else and already had the DNA genomes mapped out (In his brain it seems, since no complete records were kept, which make him somewhat SUPER also in that regard.)
    And matching that to Roger's DNA was able to correct any health problems he had and also enhance other areas.

  24. How Does CAPTAIN AMERICA's Super-Soldier Serum Work? (Because Science w/ Kyle Hill)-BECAUSE TESTICLES!!!

  25. Well, there's a whole lot those CRISPR things could potentially mess with. More consciously-controlled hysterical strength for use when needed, check. Faster healing/stem cell replication to heal much faster from any and all wounds, plus cleanse toxins, check. More aggressive white blood cells, rendering him virtually immune to toxins and diseases, check. Deliberately trigger myostatin deficiency for a higher muscular baseline, check. Maybe activate latent Neanderthal DNA, making us a LOT more muscular? Check.

    This even explains Cap's boosted brain, he's a functioning super-intellect like those born with certain disorders (where they can do super-calculations, but can't tie their shoes or talk to people normally), yet Cap manifests none of the bad parts of those syndromes and gets the best parts such as fantastic memory.

    I mean, they didn't have the tech in the 40s to go inserting genes deliberately, but there's a whole lot they could activate that's already there. Though it really does imply Erskine KNEW what to activate…hmm…

  26. Hey nerdist, how can I get to your many viewers On my other channel orchard house gaming? How do you do it?

  27. Ahh man you ruined captain America for me. Nah just kidding. Love the science behind the story. It's that thing (speculation) that turned it from cult to legend

  28. Deaths (so far) [zero this episode]
    1 arrow to neck
    1 Head shot
    1 zombification
    1 nuclear explosion
    1 deatomified

    Dismemberment (so far) [zero this episode]

    1 hand

    Diseases (so far) [zero this episode]
    1 blood poison
    1 lesions

    Traitor… (So far)
    1 hydra

  29. KYLE!!! Can you please look into the force required from Captain America’s Kick in Civil War?

    He kicked a truck and sent it moving with enough force to take down another human being!

    How powerful would that kick have to be to send the truck moving at that speed and distance?!

  30. The only material that opens up medicine and fluids to the body are dendrimites and if you use follistatin you could theoretically make a super soldier

  31. Tbh my genetics are probably crap, I'd definitely volunteer for this if it was reas as of now, but then again who wouldn't…

  32. Steroids and deltoid dark skin that uses sun radiation to convert to energy.usain bolt Karl Lewis no jackson Tony atlas Flo jo

  33. My new head-canon/fan-theory is "Vitarays" are the life-force-energy Ant-Man collected from the Quantum Level right before Thanos' snap.

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