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Paging Dr. Frankenstein…

By Brian | May 21, 2010 | Share on Facebook

It seems that Dr. J. Craig Venter and his team in Rockville, MD have sequenced the genome of a particular bacterium and inserted that genome into another bacterium to create, well . . . . life:

“We’re basically getting new life out of the computer,” Venter says. “We started with a genetic code in the computer, wrote the ‘software,’ put it into the cell and transformed it biologically into a new species. We’re still stunned by it as a concept.”

With Venter’s breakthrough it’s now possible to splice and snap together genetic material to create a Legoland’s worth of new genetic combinations. Ideally, some of these would have robust industrial purposes, such as manufacturing bacteria that can churn out valuable vaccine components to shorten production times during an epidemic, or co-opting organisms such as algae to pump out new sources of biofuel-based energy. “Just imagine these cells where all we do is put in a new piece of chemical software and all the characteristics of the cell start changing to become what was dictated by the new software,” says Venter. “These are biological transformers.”

What the world needs is more science articles that contain the words “legoland” and “transformers,” I always say…

More to the point, after they’ve created new vaccines and energy sources, one wonders how long the scientists will wait until they attempt to create the perfect woman.

Topics: The Future is Now | No Comments »


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