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Scientists have created the world's first synthetic life form

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posted on May, 20 2010 @ 02:13 PM
As usual we have the people that only look negatively and proclaim "We should not be doing this!, messing with nature, playing God blah blah blah. People were doing the same in the past when breakthroughs in science occurred, now most people don't think twice about those. I think this is a massive leap that should not be hindered by such people, the uses for this are huge and could very well transform the 21st century. There will always be people who can use technology and science for evil deeds, that is always going to be the case....but the benefits are greater. Good thread, let's hope more money get's funneled in to this and the technology becomes usable on a large scale in the coming decades.

posted on May, 20 2010 @ 02:24 PM

Originally posted by samureyed

Jurassic park 2030?

Worse yet,*(glass half empty) with the new synthetic controlling DNA, This, and have had the ability to make a synthetic virus for a few years...

Zombie apocalypse. haha.

posted on May, 20 2010 @ 04:06 PM

I wonder how long before this bites us in the butt.


Never mind.

There is no chance that anything could possibly go wrong here.

posted on May, 20 2010 @ 04:13 PM
This is being overhyped.

Synthetically constructed DNA was inserted into a REAL cell & it actually functioned properly [on the second attempt].

It is an achievement to be sure.

It is sort of like a computer scientist student doing their first 'hello world' program, by imitating a nearly identical program,

but there are vast volumes more to know & understand to even begin to claim a crude working knowledge base.

posted on May, 20 2010 @ 05:34 PM
So what your telling me is in a couple of years were going to be stamping out clone troopers?
Still no cure or real medicines for Diabetes, Cancers, Aids Etc., it seems like they have wasted their time and someone’s money.
I’m just rambling, I’m sure they are working for what’s best for me and mine, please forgive me for being hasty to judge.

posted on May, 20 2010 @ 05:47 PM

Originally posted by woodwardjnr
An American Geneticist has created the world's first synthetic life form in an experiment that paves the way for designer organisms that are built rather than evolved.

The controversial feat, which has occupied 20 scientists for more than 10 years at an estimated cost of $40m, was described by one researcher as "a defining moment in biology".

So we have created living organisms that would never have existed before. This is a huge leap for science, and like all science, good and bad can come from its discoveries.

Sounds like they are playing god to me.

Second line

posted on May, 20 2010 @ 05:47 PM
So am I the only thinking if this is public news now... a decade ago it was done by the military or some sort of underground government based institute?! And if so... for what applications (other then soldiers)?

posted on May, 20 2010 @ 05:50 PM
[didn't realize there were two of these threads. As this was the first one posted I'll take my comment from there and copy it here in case that one gets shut down]

J. Craig Venter Institute


In a publication in Science magazine, Daniel Gibson, Ph.D. and a team of 23 additional researchers outline the steps to synthesize a 1.08 million base pair Mycoplasma mycoides genome, constructed from four bottles of chemicals that make up DNA. This synthetic genome has been "booted up" in a cell to create the first cell controlled completely by a synthetic genome.

The assembly of a synthetic M. mycoides genome in yeast.

Figure from Gibson, D. G., J. I. Glass, et al. 2010. Creation of a bacterial cell controlled by a chemically synthesized genome. Science, Published online May 20 2010.


The ability to routinely write the software of life will usher in a new era in science, and with it, new products and applications such as advanced biofuels, clean water technology, and new vaccines and medicines. The field is already having an impact in some of these areas and will continue to do so as long as this powerful new area of science is used wisely. Continued and intensive review and dialogue with all areas of society, from Congress to bioethicists to laypeople, is necessary for this field to prosper.

Here's the paper: Creation of a Bacterial Cell Controlled by a Chemically Synthesized Genome (.pdf)


We report the design, synthesis, and assembly of the 1.08-Mbp Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0 genome starting from digitized genome sequence information and its transplantation into a Mycoplasma capricolum recipient cell to create new Mycoplasma mycoides cells that are controlled only by the synthetic chromosome. The only DNA in the cells is the designed synthetic DNA sequence, including "watermark" sequences and other designed gene deletions and polymorphisms, and mutations acquired during the building process. The new cells have expected phenotypic properties and are capable of continuous self-replication.

That Venter is a bad MoFo... I see a Nobel coming his way before too long.

[edit on Thu May 20 2010 by Rren]

posted on May, 20 2010 @ 05:53 PM
Wow, this is pretty impressive stuff and a stagering number of implications, not least of which is if Dr Venter starts putting patents on newly created life.

The idea of putting genetic watermarks on artifical life seems like a sensible idea and I'm glad they thought about that ahead of time.

posted on May, 20 2010 @ 06:01 PM
This isn't anything new but glad it's becoming more mainstream.

Good thread.

posted on May, 20 2010 @ 06:07 PM
reply to post by grantbeed

Now religion is out of the picture, lets move on shall we??!!

Not quite. This reminds me of an illustration that I heard in a sermon once:

A scientist went up to God one day and said, "God, we don't need you anymore; we have been able to create life on our own!"

"Is that so," said God, "Let's see you do it."

So, the scientist reached down to grab some dirt. As he was lifting it up, God said, "Na-ah! Get your own dirt."

posted on May, 20 2010 @ 06:16 PM

Originally posted by grantbeed
Now religion is out of the picture, lets move on shall we??!!

So, because the Venter group was able to successfully put a synthetic genome (copied from an already existent natural one, btw) into a 'stripped' cell, there is no God? I believe you've skipped some steps there. Please do show your work, though.

"Get your own dirt" indeed!

[edit on Thu May 20 2010 by Rren]

posted on May, 20 2010 @ 06:17 PM
I feel that there is just no way we humans should start messing around with life on such a fundamental level. I am not a religious person, but I am very spiritual, this just feels so very wrong.

Interesting last paragraph in full guardian article regarding Venter as a controversial figure in the 1990's...

Apparently 20% of all human genes are patented, which means that corporate interests control a large degree of our 'building blocks for life' as intellectual property!

The top patent assignee is Incyte, a Palo Alto, California-based drug company whose patents cover 2,000 human genes.

also here for recent news:

Currently, in the US, it is possible to patent any living organism other than a fully formed human being.

This shows just how much reverance we have for life, we are willing to pursue profit even in the sacred sanctity of mother natures back yard.

The other problem is (other than a corporate monopoly on life itself), at what point will humans stop?

We won't, we will keep going, ruthlessly in the name of humanity, destroying anything that gets in the way of our cause.

One day sterile robotic arms will nuture motherless corporate owned babys, with bar codes on necks, as they are pulled from perfect, purpose built, uteris'.

[edit on 20-5-2010 by vagabondrobb]

posted on May, 20 2010 @ 06:17 PM

Originally posted by Mr Zeropoint
This will inevtably some day in the future destroy the world

The nuclear bomb has nothing on this

If you don't understand that then, pff

its quite funny , the world was destroyed some time ago, just not in the way you would think

posted on May, 20 2010 @ 06:17 PM
Can anyone say Zombie apocalypse? in the form of T-virus.. i'm watching these dirty pharmaceutical companies now.

The main fear is it could be used as a pathogen for a bio weapon...

posted on May, 20 2010 @ 06:23 PM
Sweet, could we possible throw religion into the trashcan now? It's been holding us back long enough.

posted on May, 20 2010 @ 06:27 PM
reply to post by woodwardjnr

First they came for the Amino Acids
And I did not speak out
Because I was not an Amino Acid
Then they came for the Polypeptides
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Polypeptide
Then they came for the DNA molecule
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a DNA molecule
Then they came for the Viruses
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Virus
Then they came for the Bacteria
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Bacterium
Then they came for the Single Celled Organisms
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a A Single Celled Organism
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me
Because we all had been seduced by
Genetic Engineering

posted on May, 20 2010 @ 06:29 PM
Pretty impressive research! I wonder how far along they really are though? It seems that they're always a step or two ahead of what is publicly known. And why did 'Weird Science' suddenly enter my mind?!

posted on May, 20 2010 @ 06:43 PM
Any bets this will end up in our food?

Monsanto is probably treating this guy to a night on the town right now.

posted on May, 20 2010 @ 06:44 PM
Some academic research with respect to the ethical implications of all this:

Ethical Considerations in Synthesizing a Minimal Genome (Science 10 December 1999)


Researchers are attempting to model and eventually to create "minimal organisms," organisms with the smallest set of genes that allow for survival and reproduction. Although the ability to create such an organism is beyond current technology, the work of Hutchison et al., reported in this issue, represents an important step in the path toward the creation of such an organism. Here we identify ethical, social, and religious issues raised by this research. Issues discussed include the potential abuse of the technology (biological weapons, environmental problems), as well as the challenge it poses to our conception of the meaning of life.

Synthetic Genomes: Technologies and Impact.(United States Department of Energy, Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee,

Synthetic biology needs to be pursued thoughtfully and responsibly. The Federal Government has established the National Scientific Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB -*) to provide advice to Federal departments and agencies on ways to minimize the possibility that knowledge and technologies emanating from vitally important biological research will be misused to threaten public health or national security. This report describes the benefits and a course of action for synthetic
biology research with the full realization that research recommended will be conducted under the guidance provided by the NSABB.


We urge the DOE to seize this opportunity and promote further technology development to realize the full benefit of synthetic biology for its missions. Nature has provided a wealth of biological “parts,” honed over hundreds of thousands of years of evolution. Maturity of this technology will open this largely untapped reserve.

The NSABB's final report can be found here (ADDRESSING BIOSECURITY CONCERNS

From the Venter Institute: Background/Rationale for Creation of a Synthetic Bacterial Cell (.pdf)

[edit on Thu May 20 2010 by Rren]

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