Scientist 'Creates Synthetic Life In Lab'

Scientist 'Creates Synthetic Life In Lab'

Postby colmquinn » Thu May 20, 2010 6:16 pm

A US biologist claims he has created the first man-made cell in one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs of the past two decades.
Dr Craig Venter says his researchers built a DNA strand from scratch and inserted it into a simple bacterium, creating so-called synthetic life.

Applications of the study include the manufacture of organisms designed for specific tasks, such as making vaccines or cleaning up pollution.

A report published in the Science journal details how the team effectively stimulated a yeast cell into taking on a new life.

Scientists at first made short strands of DNA and then put them together to form a chromosome, which was then inserted into a bacterium, replacing its native DNA.

They found the bacterium took on the appearance and behaviour of the transplanted chromosome, generating different proteins and multiplying.

"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," Dr Venter said.

"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."

Sky's health correspondent Thomas Moore said the scientists have created a form of life never before seen on the planet.

"Other groups are working on it around the world, but [Dr Venter's] the first to have done this," Moore said.

"He's the man who has opened up a new chapter, where we are not just looking at life that has evolved - but life that is created in a laboratory.

"It opens up new ethical dilemmas."


Not exactly as creative as I'd hoped but its still a step towards being useful
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Re: Scientist 'Creates Synthetic Life In Lab'

Postby Tsukiyumi » Thu May 20, 2010 6:22 pm

Holy sh*t.
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Re: Scientist 'Creates Synthetic Life In Lab'

Postby Sonic Glitch » Thu May 20, 2010 6:37 pm

"What is Genesis? Well, put simply, Genesis is life from lifelessness. It is a process whereby molecular structure is reorganized at the subatomic level into life-generating matter of equal mass. Stage one of our experiments was conducted in a laboratory." Hmmm.....


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Re: Scientist 'Creates Synthetic Life In Lab'

Postby Tsukiyumi » Thu May 20, 2010 6:41 pm

That's extremely cool. This could be a good first step to eliminating human disease once and for all.
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Re: Scientist 'Creates Synthetic Life In Lab'

Postby Nickswitz » Thu May 20, 2010 6:51 pm

And sadly the first step to complete destruction of humans, imagine if you could create a organism that attached to the air molecules around it and once it got on other cells it became like instant cancer. Or something of that sort, it could definitely be a good thing, but sadly people aren't all looking to do good, and not all smart people are good people.
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Re: Scientist 'Creates Synthetic Life In Lab'

Postby Sonic Glitch » Thu May 20, 2010 6:52 pm

Tsukiyumi wrote:That's extremely cool. This could be a good first step to eliminating human disease once and for all.

Or creating the horrible super-bug that finally wipes us all out. But for now I'll join you in your optimistic appraisal! :cheers:

[edit] what nick said
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Re: Scientist 'Creates Synthetic Life In Lab'

Postby Tsukiyumi » Thu May 20, 2010 7:02 pm

Nickswitz wrote:...sadly people aren't all looking to do good, and not all smart people are good people.


Tell me about it. :(

Sonic Glitch wrote:for now I'll join you in your optimistic appraisal! :cheers:


Yeah, how weird is that?
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Re: Scientist 'Creates Synthetic Life In Lab'

Postby Sionnach Glic » Thu May 20, 2010 8:39 pm

Nickswitz wrote:And sadly the first step to complete destruction of humans, imagine if you could create a organism that attached to the air molecules around it and once it got on other cells it became like instant cancer. Or something of that sort, it could definitely be a good thing, but sadly people aren't all looking to do good, and not all smart people are good people.


Any virus that can be made through this process would suffer all the same problems as any other bioweapon. And then comes the clear problem of the tech undoubtedly being too expensive and difficult for any of the more suicidal factions around to exploit. And then add into that the fact that a synthetic virus would likely be easier to combat than a naturaly occuring one, as records and notes would have been kept by necessity to document how the virus was created, allowing us to more rapidly devise a counter to it.

All in all, this new technique is just mildly more dangerous than the already existing threat of bioweapons in the grand scheme of things.

Also, science.
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Re: Scientist 'Creates Synthetic Life In Lab'

Postby Mikey » Thu May 20, 2010 9:29 pm

Wait a minute. I understand that these folks engineered the bacteria with synthetic DNA... but "synthtic life?" No, they inserted their DNA into a bacterium - which is already a life form.
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Re: Scientist 'Creates Synthetic Life In Lab'

Postby Laughing Man » Thu May 20, 2010 9:36 pm

Say hello to M. mycoides JCVI-syn1.0

Image

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Re: Scientist 'Creates Synthetic Life In Lab'

Postby Graham Kennedy » Thu May 20, 2010 9:38 pm

Rule of thumb : NEVER listen to the media description of what the scientists did, listen to what the scientists said they did.

As I understand it yes they used an existing bacteria, so it's not a "synthetic lifeform". BUT, it's got a completely synthetically manufactured genome in it, and it's reproducing that genome as it divides.

Let's put it this way... you know the theory of common origin? That if you go back far enough, every living thing on Earth is descended from a common ancestor?

Well that's not true any more. As of now, there are officially two trees of life on this planet. There's the one that came about through abiogenesis... and the one WE made.

And I think that's pretty darned cool. :)
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Re: Scientist 'Creates Synthetic Life In Lab'

Postby Mikey » Thu May 20, 2010 9:39 pm

It is pretty friggin' amazing, is what it is. My comment was more toward the inaccuracy/irresponsibility of the reporting, more than toward the acheivement.

Laughing Man wrote:Say hello to M. mycoides JCVI-syn1.0


Cute. He looks like his dad.
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Re: Scientist 'Creates Synthetic Life In Lab'

Postby Tsukiyumi » Thu May 20, 2010 10:52 pm

Looks like a pile of Kix to me.

Mmmm. Kix. :Drool2:
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Re: Scientist 'Creates Synthetic Life In Lab'

Postby Sionnach Glic » Fri May 21, 2010 12:17 pm

Mikey wrote:Wait a minute. I understand that these folks engineered the bacteria with synthetic DNA... but "synthtic life?" No, they inserted their DNA into a bacterium - which is already a life form.


Yep. It's not so much synthetic life as synthetic DNA. And we've known for a long time that you could insert DNA A into Organism B. It's the manufacturing of the DNA that's the important bit.
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Re: Scientist 'Creates Synthetic Life In Lab'

Postby Mikey » Fri May 21, 2010 12:24 pm

And now we know where the microbes that were eating that Klingon ship came from.
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