Friday, May 21, 2010


Taken from this CNN article:

Craig Venter, the U.S. genomics pioneer, announced on Thursday that scientists at his laboratories in Maryland and California had succeeded in their 15-year project to make the world's first "synthetic cells" -- bacteria called Mycoplasma mycoides.

The bacteria's genes were all constructed in the laboratory "from four bottles of chemicals on a chemical synthesizer, starting with information on a computer," he said.

"Venter is creaking open the most profound door in huma
nity's history, potentially peeking into its destiny," said Julian Savulescu, ethics professor at Oxford University. "This is a step towards ... creation of living beings with capacities and natures that could never have naturally evolved."

Check out the article in Science for more information.

Two comments:
- There are 24 authors on the article in Science. That is a lot of authors. However, the project has been around for 15 years; I am wondering how many people were actually involved (lab techs, Master's and PhD students, etc.). What a crazy amount of work!!
- HOW COOL IS THIS?!? I know that it's diving into the realm of "playing God", but it's incredible that science has come this far!!!

Watson and Crick proposed the double helix structure of DNA in 1953.

Focus people: NINETEEN FIFTY THREE. That was less than 60 years ago!!!!! Craig Venter was playing with slingshots and jacks. Now we are making our own cells?!?! Science never ceases to amaze me!!

Speaking of ethics..

Nun excommunicated, loses hospital post over decision on abortion

I love this stuff. Ethics is where it's at.

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