I found this very interesting...
Craig Venter's scientific breakthrough, the manufacture of a living cell, has the potential to change the world, writes Emma Cowing
INSIDE the J Craig Venter Institute, tucked away in the sleepy town of Rockville, Maryland, 24 scientists were holding their breath. Within a
laboratory the world's first synthetic genome – the result of 15 years of research and millions of dollars
– was being transferred into a common bug. It was the moment of truth. Would the bug react, or ignore the new genetic code? But as the bug began to
multiply, something remarkable began to happen. Some of its progeny began to ditch their own DNA, and use the synthetic genome.
"It's pretty stunning when you just replace the DNA software in the cell," Dr Craig Venter, the man who has dreamt of rewriting the genetic
rulebook for over 30 years, said last week. "The cell instantly starts reading that new software, starts making a whole different set of proteins,
and in a short while, all the characteristics of the first species disappear and a new species emerges."
He also thinks synthetic cells can be used to grow more crops. It could be possible, he says, to use "synthetic biology techniques to modify the
metabolic hardware of plants, to make them more efficient so you can increase the yield".
And he believes the same techniques can be employed in medical advances, particularly in areas such as flu vaccines. Venter has said that he hopes to
be able to design artificial life forms that can quickly make vaccines on huge production scales, something that has made several drug companies sit
up and listen.
what say you ATSrs?
Wilmut, meanwhile, cautions against believing that Venter's breakthrough will solve the world's problems. "The result is a very interesting
technical achievement, but it is not clear why it offers any new opportunities that were not available with existing methods of making genetic changes
in bacterial cells. I do not believe that the new techniques will change our lives dramatically, certainly not in the near future."
edit to ad last part..
[edit on 22-5-2010 by baddmove]