Friction can be a drag

In the interests of free speech…just make it interesting

Synthetic cell

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Scientists have created synthetic life in the form of a new species of bacteria that operates entirely under the control of a man-made set of genetic instructions, originally stored on a computer. They synthesised the genome of a bacterial cell and used it to “boot up” the empty cell of another species of bacteria, which then replicated freely as if it were carrying its own set of genetic instructions instead of a set made in a laboratory.

“This is the first synthetic cell that’s been made, and we call it synthetic because the cell is totally derived from a synthetic chromosome, made with four bottles of chemicals on a chemical synthesiser, starting with information in a computer,” Dr Venter said.

“This now provides a ‘proof of concept’. The applications of this enabling technology are enormous and one might argue this is a key step in the industrialisation of synthetic biology leading to a new era of biotechnology,” he added. Professor Douglas Kell, chief executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, said the study was an important step in the development of a new area of science. “Synthetic biology is a relatively new field and within the global research community there is some truly avant-garde science happening.”

Some ethicists, however, expressed concerns. “Venter is not merely copying life artificially … he is going towards the role of a god – creating artificial life that could never have existed naturally,” said Professor Julian Savulescu, an ethicist at the University of Oxford.

“What is really dangerous is these scientists’ ambitions for total control over nature, which many people describe as ‘playing God’. The claim of authorship of nature goes hand-in-hand with the claim to monopoly patent rights over it,” said David King of Human Genetics Alert.

Interesting discussion beneath full article in today’s Independent:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/synthetic-cell-is-a-giant-leap-for-science-and-could-be-bigger-still-for-mankind-1978869.html

Are we getting closer to ‘God’?

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Written by tree2one

May 21, 2010 at 9:04 am

Posted in free speech

One Response

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  1. Nah – it really is not good enough.
    What is more interesting is the efforts to patent this sort of stuff.
    Sulston vs Ventner – Round 2.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/science_and_environment/10150685.stm

    jackshaftoe

    May 25, 2010 at 7:06 am


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