Scientist Creates Artificial Life Form
This is an exciting and somewhat frightening step in our advancement of knowledge. Quantum scientific breakthroughs can be used for the good of humanity, or they can create inconceivable horrors. And like nuclear fission, this technology will probably do both. But once the box has been opened, you can't close it back.
"Craig Venter, the controversial DNA researcher involved in the race to decipher the human genetic code, has built a synthetic chromosome out of laboratory chemicals and is poised to announce the creation of the first new artificial life form on Earth.
The DNA sequence is based on the bacterium Mycoplasma genitalium which the team pared down to the bare essentials needed to support life, removing a fifth of its genetic make-up. The wholly synthetically reconstructed chromosome, which the team have christened Mycoplasma laboratorium, has been watermarked with inks for easy recognition.
It is then transplanted into a living bacterial cell and in the final stage of the process it is expected to take control of the cell and in effect become a new life form. The team of scientists has already successfully transplanted the genome of one type of bacterium into the cell of another, effectively changing the cell's species. Mr Venter said he was "100% confident" the same technique would work for the artificially created chromosome.
Mr Venter believes designer genomes have enormous positive potential if properly regulated."
Read the rest.