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Artificial Life Breakthrough Announced by Scientists





Scientists in the US have succeeded in developing the first synthetic living cell. The researchers constructed a bacterium’s “genetic software” and transplanted it into a host cell. The resulting microbe then looked and behaved like the species “dictated” by the synthetic DNA.

The advance, published in Science, has been hailed as a scientific landmark, but critics say there are dangers posed by synthetic organisms.

The researchers hope eventually to design bacterial cells that will produce medicines and fuels and even absorb greenhouse gases.

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This is the first time any synthetic DNA has been in complete control of a cell

Dr Craig Venter J Craig Venter Institute

The team was led by Dr Craig Venter of the J Craig Venter Institute in Maryland and California.

He and his colleagues had previously made a synthetic bacterial genome, and transplanted the genome of one bacterium into another.

Now, the scientists have put both methods together, to create what they call a “synthetic cell”, although only its genome is truly synthetic.

via BBC News – ‘Artificial life’ breakthrough announced by scientists.

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