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Artificial life created?

Scientists are close to creating artificial life, reports Ed Pilkington for The Guardian:

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 announcement, which is expected within weeks and could come as early as Monday at the annual meeting of his scientific institute in San Diego, California, will herald a giant leap forward in the development of designer genomes. It is certain to provoke heated debate about the ethics of creating new species and could unlock the door to new energy sources and techniques to combat global warming.

Read the whole article at the link above. If true - and the credentials of several of those involved tend to support that belief - this was an inevitable development. Controversy will ensue, certainly, but the bell cannot be un-rung once sounded, and further steps will swiftly follow.

Human history teaches us that our technology always advances faster than our understanding. Like splitting the atom or cloning a sheep, though, it cannot be stopped. If it is possible, we will do it whether it is ultimately a good thing or not, simply because we can.


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Comments (5)

Pieces parts....that's all ... (Below threshold)

Pieces parts....that's all we need not entire new organisms.

Next we need a new ribbon/button and an organization to save this clearly endangered new species!

New life form = new energy ... (Below threshold)

New life form = new energy sources and cure for global warming? Maybe it's eliminate poverty and stop racism too.

It still needs a living cell to make it work. So, I guess a little hand waving is in order.

Um... A single chromosome ... (Below threshold)
Jason Author Profile Page:

Um... A single chromosome is not life. Seriously, kids. Lay off the Star Trek. All this guy did was mash some chemicals together into something resembling a chromosome. Then the part that really makes me laugh: they're going to destroy an already existing lifeform in an attempt to create a "new lifeform." What a joke! That's like building an artificial brain and then using it to replace the brain of a living person to create a "new person."

I would honestly be surprised if the "new lifeform" is even viable. I predict it will die rather quickly.

Science is really beginning... (Below threshold)

Science is really beginning to scare me. As a Christian, I believe firmly that life begins at conception. Unable to conceive, my sister and brother-in-law went through the proper channels and wound up with four viable embryos in a freezer someplace in Boston. They intended to use these, certainly.

Meanwhile, she became pregnant on her own and is about to give birth to her first living baby. She's lost several.

Ok, fine. Now, I am told that regulations will not allow her to have those embryos implanted after this pregnancy unless she jumps through a series of hoops. It's also very possible that since she became pregnant on her own once, the doctors may disallow use of those embryos at all.

Even if they can use them, they are only allowed to implant three of the four at one time in Massachusetts.

Now, I'm sitting her thinking about those babies. I expect the majority of you think I'm off my rocker considering them babies, but Christians believe that life does, indeed, begin at conception - not at some random point during gestation.

Any thoughts, folks?

Absolutly positivly no clon... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

Absolutly positivly no cloning of humans we dont need another BILL CLINTON or AL GORE any ecientists who clones those two deserves to be exicuted






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