Feeds

Genetics boffins on the verge of artificial bacteria

The other Second Life

The essential guide to IT transformation

Genetics entrepreneur Craig Venter claims his team is on the verge of creating the first artificial lifeform.

In an interview with The Guardian this weekend, Venter said his company, Synthetic Genomics, has completed an artificial chromosome that will carry all necessary genes for a viable bacterium.

It's planned that the DNA will be transplanted into a living cell and take over the molecular reins. An announcement is reckoned to be imminent and Venter says he is 100 per cent confidence of success.

The resulting organism will only be part synthetic, but a huge breakthrough for the 20-strong team of top boffins specially assembled by Venter. He's betting on artificial organisms delivering a bonanza for medicine, renewable energy, and anti-climate change efforts.

He has already applied for a patent for this first, dubbed Mycoplasma laboratorium. His past attempts to make researchers pay for access to its work sequencing the human genome were a failure, and its data was eventually subsumed into the public database.

Venter cuts a maverick figure at the vanguard of biotech, and divides scientists in praise and criticism of his bullish approach to research and commercialisation.

Bioethics groups have expressed concerns that regulations have failed to keep pace with developments in synthetic genetics and warn that the technology coold be abused by terrorists. Venter said: "We are not afraid to take on things that are important just because they stimulate thinking.

"[This is] a very important philosophical step in the history of our species. We are going from reading our genetic code to the ability to write it." ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9000 beer tokens - and counting
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?