Scientists Create Artificial Life
|Bacteria with Synthesised DNA|
The research team, led by controversial scientist Craig Venter, who previously directed one of the teams which decoded the human genome, said he had created synthetic life in the form of a new species of bacteria that operates entirely under the control of a man-made set of genetic instructions, originally stored on a computer. They synthesised the genome of a bacterial cell and used it to "boot up" the empty cell of another species of bacteria, which then replicated freely as if it were carrying its own set of genetic instructions instead of a set made in a laboratory. It is also reported today that US President Barack Obama has asked his bioethics advisers to study and report on the research findings and that the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee has also scheduled a hearing for next week to discuss the implications of the development. Dick Ahlstrom has more on this story in today's Irish Times.
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