BBC News - 'Artificial life' breakthrough announced by scientists
"BBC News - 'Artificial life' breakthrough announced by scientists" http://j.mp/cIRoBL
Scientists in the US have succeeded in developing the first living cell to be controlled entirely by synthetic DNA. The researchers constructed a bacterium's "genetic software" and transplanted it into a host cell. The resulting microbe then looked and behaved like the species "dictated" by the synthetic DNA. The advance, published in Science, has been hailed as a scientific landmark, but critics say there are dangers posed by synthetic organisms. Some also suggest that the potential benefits of the technology have been over-stated. But the researchers hope eventually to design bacterial cells that will produce medicines and fuels and even absorb greenhouse gases. The team was led by Dr Craig Venter of the J Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) in Maryland and California.