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C. Flower
20-05-2010, 11:46 PM
Only a single cell, but a big step for mankind,,,


A scientist in the US has created artificial life.

Biologist Dr J Craig Venter has produced a single-celled creature with is entirely man-made DNA.

The biological breakthrough has been compared with splitting the atom, but it has also been criticised as "playing God".

Dr Venter says his team's techniques will help mankind.

“We have ongoing funding to try and use these new synthetic DNA tools to perhaps make the flu vaccine that you might get next year,” he said.

“Instead of taking weeks to months to make these, they can now be made in less than 24 hours.”

Read more: http://www.breakingnews.ie/world/us-scientist-creates-artificial-life-458503.html#ixzz0oVpf6jzf (http://www.breakingnews.ie/world/us-scientist-creates-artificial-life-458503.html#ixzz0oVpf6jzf)

Another unbreakable barrier gone.

C. Flower
20-05-2010, 11:49 PM
More from the IT

http://m.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2010/0520/breaking66.htm?via=latest



An American scientist has created a synthetic life form using genes assembled in the laboratory.
The creation of the synthetic cell is the result of 15 years of research for genetics entrepreneur Dr Craig Venter and has major implications for genomics, including the manufacture of artificial organisms designed for specific tasks such as making vaccines or cleaning up pollution.
But experts point out there are potential dangers too, as synthetic life could, for instance, pave the way to terrifying biological weapons.
Dr Venter’s researchers explain in the journal Science how they effectively “rebooted” a simple microbe by transplanting into it a set of genetic code sequences that were built from scratch.
The genome was copied from the blueprint contained in Mycoplasma mycoides , a simple bacterium that infects cattle and goats. After first constructing short strands of DNA, the scientists used yeast cells as natural factory assembly lines.
The sequence was built in a step-by-step process. DNA repair systems in the yeast attached the pieces together, gradually lengthening the strands to finish up with a chromosome more than a million “letters” of genetic code long.
The final test came when the completed chromosome was transplanted into another bacterium, Mycoplasma capricolum , replacing its native DNA.
After a failed first attempt, the scientists brought the cells to life. Driven by the new genome, the bacteria took on the appearance and behaviour of M. mycoides , generating different proteins and multiplying.
Describing the achievement, Dr Venter said: “This is the first synthetic cell that’s been made, and we call it synthetic because the cell is totally derived from a synthetic chromosome. This is an important step we think, both scientifically and philosophically. It’s certainly changed my views of the definitions of life and how life works.”
To prove the recipient bacteria contained the synthetic genome, the scientists effectively signed their names in DNA. Four of the DNA sequences included coded “watermarks” - strings of “letters” corresponding to the names of people involved in the project, an email address, and some famous quotations.
Commenting on the breakthrough in Science , Prof Mark Bedau, editor of the journal Artificial Life , called it “a defining moment in the history of biology and technology”.
British expert Prof Paul Freemont, co-director of the EPSEC Centre for Synthetic Biology at Imperial College London, said: “The applications of this enabling technology are enormous and one might argue this is a key step in the industrialisation of synthetic biology leading to a new era of biotechnology.”
Dr Venter, who runs the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland, came to fame when he controversially challenged publicly funded scientists working on the international Human Genome Project, the first attempt to produce a complete map of the human genetic code.
He set out to construct his own private version of the human genome, using a different “short cut” method, and succeeded. The race ended in a dead heat when both versions were published simultaneously in Science in 2001. Even before the human genome milestone, Dr Venter was working towards the creation of synthetic life.
Assembling the DNA in three broad stages, the scientists first stitched together 10,000 chemical “letters”, then 100,000, and finally the complete genome of 1.08 million. However, when the chromosome was first put into M. capricolum , nothing happened.
Like computer scientists debugging software, the researchers traced the fault to a single letter mistake. Once this was corrected, the genome “booted up” and the cells started to multiply.
Over the course of a weekend, a colony of blue bacteria appeared on the lab plate where the “synthetic cells” were being grown. The colour blue was used as a signal that the artificial genome was working.
Dr Venter obtained ethical approval for the research before embarking on it. He insists the work is harmless, pointing out that the bacteria involved do not infect people. However, a relative of M. mycoides , M. pneumonia , does cause lung infections in humans.
Some experts worry that such research may prove dangerous in the long term, especially in the hands of bioterrorists. “This experiment will certainly reconfigure the ethical imagination,” said anthropologist Prof Paul Rabinow, from the University of California, Berkeley, one of three commentators expressing concern in a Science news article.
The watchdog group Human Genetics Alert called for a moratorium on “synthetic life” research until there had been a full public debate and an effective system of global regulation was in place.
Director Dr David King said: “What is really dangerous is these scientists’ ambitions for total and unrestrained control over nature, which many people describe as ‘playing God’. The claim of authorship of nature goes hand-in-hand with the claim to monopoly patent rights over it.
“Scientists’ understanding of biology falls far short of their technical capabilities. We have already learnt to our cost the risks that gap brings, for the environment, animal welfare and human health.”

Garland Names the Planets
20-05-2010, 11:59 PM
Cool. Inevitable. But cool. And before the narks start whining we've been creating new forms of life ever since we started breeding animals. If it upsets you go shoot a Labrador

Lapsedmethodist
21-05-2010, 12:12 AM
Maybe they could inject some new life into Irish politicians ?

moss
21-05-2010, 12:13 AM
Maybe they could inject some new life into Irish politicians ?


boom boom

ZANU-FF
21-05-2010, 08:13 AM
Maybe they could inject some new life into Irish politicians ?

funny you say that, Venter developed a single cell species, much like our single cell lifeform resembling leader

amoeba cowen

no spine, a blob

Baron von Biffo
21-05-2010, 08:57 AM
Meh. Guinness creates more life in bus shelters every weekend.

Captain Con O'Sullivan
21-05-2010, 09:40 AM
Shouldbe interesting to see all the pro-life groups marching up and down demanding it be given a religious education.

Baron von Biffo
21-05-2010, 10:00 AM
Shouldbe interesting to see all the pro-life groups marching up and down demanding it be given a religious education.

But which religion?

ZANU-FF
21-05-2010, 10:01 AM
But which religion?

Christian Scientists?

Baron von Biffo
21-05-2010, 10:04 AM
Christian Scientists?

Anathema! Fatwa! Abomination!

Captain Con O'Sullivan
21-05-2010, 10:16 AM
You'll annoy St Petri.

Baron von Biffo
21-05-2010, 10:21 AM
You'll annoy St Petri.

Petri isn't a real saint as he was canonised by the schismatic Pope Agar VII.

Captain Con O'Sullivan
21-05-2010, 10:23 AM
'Synthia! At last a girlfriend for me ...' (Mr Blobby).

C. Flower
21-05-2010, 10:40 AM
I'm still freaked out by this and by bio developments like cloning.

Does Ireland have any law controlling bio-engineering, cloning etc. ? Last time I heard this discussed we did not.

ZANU-FF
21-05-2010, 10:43 AM
I'm still freaked out by this and by bio developments like cloning.

Does Ireland have any law controlling bio-engineering, cloning etc. ? Last time I heard this discussed we did not.

biFFo and crew would allow anything here, especially if they include a call centre........

Captain Con O'Sullivan
21-05-2010, 11:10 AM
I've been keeping track on this kind of issue- with GMO's and Stem Cell technology and so on.

What interests me is the gap between what the stated aims are in both cases. On the face it GMOs are supposed to help feed the world's poor and microbiology/celll technology is supposed to cure many illnesses.

But what worries me is the sort of people who are dead keen on both but there may be a profit motive in it for them.

For example one of the Sainsbury brothers in the UK has a cell technology company and he is also well politically connected and seems very very keen on pushing the idea that private companies can 'trademark' such developments.

I can't help thinking that Mr Sainsbury is getting a bit bored with buying in supplies of bread for example and flogging it with a profit margin on top. I suspect he wants to establish ownership via intellectual property routes of the actual wheat or basic ingredient of bread.

If that line is allowed to develop we will end up with private individuals and commercial companies actually OWNING the patent on basic foodstuffs sold through supermarkets.

I don't think this is a good idea. Its like handing away the patent on water. Could get very nasty.

Spectabilis
21-05-2010, 01:03 PM
If that line is allowed to develop we will end up with private individuals and commercial companies actually OWNING the patent on basic foodstuffs sold through supermarkets.

I don't think this is a good idea. Its like handing away the patent on water. Could get very nasty.

I thought that had already happened with GM strains of wheat being owned by Monsanto.

Captain Con O'Sullivan
21-05-2010, 03:01 PM
Thats the attractive factor for corporations- the possibility of owning a foodstuff at a molecular level.

I actually think that should be banned worldwide. Monsanto used to witter on about feeding the world's poor and particularly in Africa when as far as I could see they had run no tests in Africa and were to my mind focused on driving down costs for themselves and the retail food chains in Europe.

I'll give you an example of the type of problem that can occur. GMOs are banned in Canada but legal in the states (surprise, surprise). When milk supplies run low north of the Great Lakes in Canada some suppliers buy in extra stock from the US side of the border.

This means that Canadian citizens are consuming GMO milk without even realising it.
Nice, eh? Despite it being banned in Canada because no-one knows what effects it will have in the long run.