October 6, 2007

World’s first artificial life form?

Posted in Biology, Education, Evolution, Life, Nature, News, Science at 5:48 pm by deadlikeme

protolife.jpgInstead of merely manipulating existing DNA, Craig Venter and his team have built a DNA from scratch, a synthetic chromosome called Mycoplasma laboratorium.

Using lab-made chemicals, a team of 20 scientists (led by Nobel laureate Hamilton Smith) has stitched together a chromosome that is 381 genes long and contains 580,000 base pairs of genetic code.

Once transplanted into a living bacterial cell it is expected to take control of the cell and in effect become a new life form.

Artificial DNA? Bio-ethicist Pat Mooney thinks Mr. Venter is creating a

chassis on which you could build almost anything. It could be a contribution to humanity such as new drugs or a huge threat to humanity such as bio-weapons

Visit The Guardian for more information.