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A New Era In Science: "Synthia" The First Synthetic Life Is Created

Today, in Science, the first artificial cell was born.

Scientists from the J Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) in Maryland and California announced today that they have developed the first synthetic living cell.  Though theoretically this cell is the first step in the creation of artificial life, the inventors are focusing their efforts on creating new fuels, effective ways to clean polluted water, and faster vaccine production....

Scientists have moved single genes and chunks of DNA from one species to another before, but Dr. Craig Venter's team met a milestone a few years ago, transplanting an entire natural genome of one bacterium into another and watched the original goat germ turn into a cattle germ. 

World's first synthetic cells: J Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) via BBC NewsWorld's first synthetic cells: J Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) via BBC News

Later Venter's lab distinguished itself by building a small bacterium's genome with man-made DNA fragments, piece by piece - another milestone.

It was both milestone achievements that, combined, led the team to the 'synthetic cell' disclosed today. The researchers started out by combining two small species of Mycoplasma with a chemically synthesized goat germ genome, and finally transplanted that into a living cell from a different Mycoplasma species.

The team encountered an obstacle here and they eventually had to spell check (!) the DNA fragments of the synthetic genome to make sure there were no errors.  The delay in the achievement of their goal was about three months, but finally, they learned the spell checker found a typo in the genetic code!

Once it was fixed, the synthetic DNA and its cytoplasm, having been tagged to distinguish it from the DNA of the natural Mycoplasma, started to produce its own proteins.  Those proteins showed no relationship to their synthetic, genetic 'parent,' but instead looked and behaved exactly like the natural Mycoplasma.

Synthetic DNA may cause ethical concerns for some, but Synthia, as she (?) is fondly called by her creators, is getting plenty of praise from companies ready to join the new field of synthetic biology, a combination of chemistry, computer science, molecular biology, genetics and cell biology, to breed industrial life forms that can secrete fuels, vaccines or other saleable products." (WSJ)

Daisy, meet Synthia.

 

sources: BBC News, Globe And Mail, WSJ


Comments
May 23, 2010
by Anonymous

Wow.

Just... wow. On the long list of things you believe, I'm willing to bet that actual evidence ranks dead last.

Wow.

May 23, 2010
by Anonymous

( the above comment )

... was specifically in response to the second comment, "Insane!", but could apply to a lot of things said here. I suppose this kind of fear-mongering and dark age thinking is the other result of being part of a society where we have enough to eat and kids don't die at outrageous rates from preventable diseases. Besides, yennow, the having enough to eat and the kids not dying.

May 23, 2010
by Anonymous

fire

Man learned to make his own fire. On the one hand it keep him warm. But on the other hand it could burn his house down, and burn
his ass! So you got to take the good with the bad! Dont worry be
happy. You might make to a better place in the end.

Professor True Grit

May 23, 2010
by Anonymous

Are we living in a computer simulation?

Google 'Nick Bostrom', delve into some intellectual realms, do some critical thinking. If you're even reading this site, chances are you're at least more intelligent than probably about 90% of the population. DNA controls the actions of everything. It's all about reproduction, baby, 'cause: something, somewhere, needs to 'live' through us. Something needs humans to 'make choices', (to provide it with a moral code?).

Our electromagnetic brainwaves are monitered by a 'higher being', for what purposes it is difficult to imagine. COLOR (nanometer wavelength) is how it is done.

DNA has a 'book' written in it. It's not junk, it's a message or a story. One day, one person will break the code. Humanity awaits the next Einstein.

May 23, 2010
by Anonymous

hear, hear

hear, hear

May 23, 2010
by Anonymous

hear, hear

hear, hear

May 26, 2010
by Anonymous

Its good to hear

I think its good to hear of creating a artificial life....yaa they used some organic materials in this process of making but i think its less than wat they used before...
so,some hew they are succesful and i think we are not far seing them creating life with out organi materials...................( Pavan )

Jul 21, 2010
by Anonymous

Get your facts right

I feel that it is only right to point out some of the basic flaws in your logic, and how they affect your reasoning.
Firstly, while it is true that you can find reports of vaccines causing side effects, such cases are not statistically significant - that is to say, they fast such a vast minorty that it is almost not worth considering them - I myself have felt ill after vaccines, but that's because they are giving you an attenuated version of the illness to stimulate a passive primary immune response within your body, and your body will deal with the bacteria within hours! It is mostly the media who make vaccinations appear dangerous - the MMR scare was caused when the media reported autism in a statistically significant proportion of 12 children. To be clear, 12 children does not make a good sample size for a scientific study.Think how many children were diagnosed with any of the MMR trio in the resulting downturn of immunisation
Secondly, many studies have shown that mobile phones do give off microwave radiation - however, other studies have proven that this radiation is not at a wavelength/frequency capable of ionising the cells in the human body - they are not dangerous.
These scientists are not like "moronic children". Their work has monumental implications for medicine - we could finally develop a working system of genetic therapy to fight cancers, immunodificiencies and other genetic disorders, and JCVI-sync1.0 (Synthia) has made a lot of that possible. And don't worry - if the terrorists do get a hold of Synthia, they can't do anything with a single replicating cell with barely enough genetic material to support life. It took us 15 years of research to get this far, and I don't think Osama Bin Laden has had either the time or resources to do the same, hiding in a cave in the mountains.

Sep 10, 2010
by Anonymous

great news for

great news for world..........

Sep 22, 2010
by Anonymous

They will succeed.

I have foreseen this in my visions. And they are never wrong. I see wars and men in radioactive resistant suits. Laser weapons. Other creatures are beside them in battle. But everyone except eight people will survive in the end. What's worse...they are all male. :I

Sep 28, 2010
by Anonymous

Insanity?

Really? Care to elaborate or are you just going to spout drivel about anything man-made being dangerous?

How exactly does this link in any way to human suffering and how do these experiments endanger our lives? If scientists don't know what they're doing, would you care to step in and do their job for them since, apparently, you are the most intelligent person who has ever lived?

How can you accuse scientists of having 'no common sense' when they have created artificial life and, in doing so, are one large step closer to solving many world problems, including the problem of unclean water in Third World countries?

Vaccines are indeed sometimes dangerous, but guess what? Smallpox is considerably more dangerous. Only 1 of every 1000 people have been proven to have had allergic reactions to the smallpox vaccine. I don't know about you, but I think that it's worth the risk.

Conspiracy theorists with no sense of progress are as entitled to their opinion as everyone else, but you can't expect to make a somewhat questionable 'point' with no explanation and expect to be taken seriously.

Jan 4, 2011
by Anonymous

Huge potential for good. More dangerous than we can handle.

Before I say anything let me frame my mindset: I am not a conspiracy theorist. I don’t think that paranoid conspiracy theories are of any help. I am tired of hearing how vaccines are a bad thing and cell phones cause brain cancer.
Having said that, this article is one of the scariest things I’ve ever read. No legislating body will be able to keep up with this technology. No corporation will be able to keep their hands off this if the feel like they can get in the game. Thousands of scientists motivated by money and fame will race on this track. Hundreds of large corporations in all industrial fields will get into this game. The pressure to compete will be huge and the speed they’ll churn out new products will eventually get to be nothing short of amazing. Any large software product in existence (be that from Microsoft or Adobe or any other producer) has hundreds if not thousands of bugs – mostly with low impact that manifest very rarely. This industry will be similar (only worse) when it comes to small defects that will occur in their products. There is no way humans be able to stop the disasters this spells. This is the dawn of a new era – that of a new type of pollution. One that potentially can be a lot more dangerous that what we consider today pollution.

Feb 18, 2011
by Anonymous

Synthia

Maybe for those fundamentalists out there who disagree with the progression of science, the cell should be called "Sinthia"

Aug 9, 2011
by Anonymous

scientists proved tther is no god

after the discovery i agreed there is no god. we are god.

Aug 9, 2011
by Anonymous

scientists proved tther is no god

after the discovery i agreed there is no god. we are god.

Dec 21, 2011
by Anonymous

This is YEAST, folks!

Before the fear of dabbling in the paint-pots of God are fully inflamed ... let's take a breath here--

For the religious: Remember humanity is vain. Golems have been reputed to have been made before. Mary Shelly's [fictional] Frankenstein's monster extricated himself after realizing he was different. The yeast is far from a new Prometheus.

For the scientific: This is like learning how to manufacture a dot [like the period at the end of this sentence], on a vast map of the entire world. We have yet to survey the lines of such a continentally immense effort, much less place cute and narcissistic names on bodies of land, and seas yet to be discovered. There's work to do.

For everyone else: The discovery of HOW to do this is profound, true. But it took us a long time and a rather long way around to learn how to make fire too, much less apply it to create the Atom Bomb. We have to learn how to crawl before we can walk.

For anyone left over: You can't (and probably won't try to) stop genius from happening. Man is a curious creature and arguably it was God that placed Adam before the serpent in the tree in the Garden of Eden. Let the apples fall where they may.

Jun 2, 2012
by Anonymous

Playing GOD ?

Science , never stopping to think if this should be done , doing it because they CAN ? Wonder if this is the GULF BLUE PLAGUE ? Look it up all ! Or could it be the Morgellons Disease , that is showing up in Ca , San Fran , Florida , along the gulf , they sprayed SYNTHIA in the BP OIL SPILL . Now you have diseases showing up ! Wow ! Look up both and you be the JUDGE !