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Scientists are only months away from creating artificial life, it was claimed yesterday.
Dr Craig Venter – one of the world’s most famous and controversial biologists – said his U.S. researchers have overcome one of the last big hurdles to making a synthetic organism.
The first artificial lifeform is likely to be a simple man-made bacterium that proves that the technology can work.
But it will be followed by more complex bacteria that turn coal into cleaner natural gas, or algae that can soak up carbon dioxide and convert it into fuels. They could also be used to create new vaccines and antibiotics.
The prediction came after a breakthrough by the J Craig Venter Institute in Maryland. Researchers successfully transferred the DNA of one type of bacteria into a yeast cell, modified it and then transferred it into another bacterial cell.