Saturday, October 06, 2007

Biologists create artifical life form, apply for patent

The structure of part of a DNA double helixBiologists led by Dr. Craig Venter claim they have created an artifical chromosome. The Guardian reports that the process the scientists used was to inject novel DNA into an existing cell.

Mr Venter told the Guardian he thought this landmark would be “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. That gives us the hypothetical ability to do things never contemplated before”.
. . .
Pat Mooney, director of a Canadian bioethics organisation, ETC group, said the move was an enormous challenge to society to debate the risks involved. “Governments, and society in general, is way behind the ball. This is a wake-up call—what does it mean to create new life forms in a test-tube?”

He said Mr Venter was creating a “chassis on which you could build almost anything. It could be a contribution to humanity such as new drugs or a huge threat to humanity such as bio-weapons”.

via Fast Company

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