First 'synthetic life': Scientists 'boot up' a bacterial cell with a synthetic genome

May 20, 2010
Mycoplasma mycoides bacterium
Negatively stained transmission electron micrographs of dividing M. mycoides JCVI-syn1. Electron micrographs were provided by Tom Deerinck and Mark Ellisman of the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research at the University of California at San Diego.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists have developed the first cell controlled by a synthetic genome. They now hope to use this method to probe the basic machinery of life and to engineer bacteria specially designed to solve environmental or energy problems.

The study will be published online by the journal Science, at the website, on Thursday, 20 May.

The research team, led by Craig Venter of the J. Craig Venter Institute, has already chemically synthesized a , and it has transplanted the genome of one bacterium to another. Now, the scientists have put both methods together, to create what they call a "synthetic cell," although only its genome is synthetic.

"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, made with four bottles of chemicals on a chemical synthesizer, starting with information in a computer," said Venter.

"This becomes a very powerful tool for trying to design what we want biology to do. We have a wide range of applications [in mind]," he said.

For example, the researchers are planning to design algae that can capture carbon dioxide and make new hydrocarbons that could go into refineries. They are also working on ways to speed up . Making new chemicals or food ingredients and cleaning up water are other possible benefits, according to Venter.

In the Science study, the researchers synthesized the genome of the M. mycoides and added that "watermark" the genome to distinguish it from a natural one.

Because current machines can only assemble relatively short strings of DNA letters at a time, the researchers inserted the shorter sequences into yeast, whose DNA-repair enzymes linked the strings together. They then transferred the medium-sized strings into E. coli and back into yeast. After three rounds of assembly, the researchers had produced a genome over a million base pairs long.

The scientists then transplanted the synthetic M. mycoides genome into another type of bacteria, Mycoplasm capricolum. The new "booted up" the recipient cells. Although fourteen genes were deleted or disrupted in the transplant bacteria, they still looked like normal M. mycoides bacteria and produced only M. mycoides proteins, the authors report.

The assembly of a synthetic M. mycoides genome in yeast. Figure from Gibson, D. G., J. I. Glass, et al. 2010. Creation of a bacterial cell controlled by a chemically synthesized genome. Science, Published online May 20 2010.

"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," Venter said.

Acknowledging the ethical discussion about synthetic biology research, Venter explained that his team asked for a bioethical review in the late 1990s and has participated in variety of discussions on the topic.

"I think this is the first incidence in science where the extensive bioethical review took place before the experiments were done. It's part of an ongoing process that we've been driving, trying to make sure that the science proceeds in an ethical fashion, that we're being thoughtful about what we do and looking forward to the implications to the future," he said.

Explore further: Designer potatoes on the menu to boost consumption

More information: 20 May 2010, Science, "Creation of a Bacterial Cell Controlled by a Chemically Synthesized Genome."
J. Craig Venter Institute announcement: www.jcvi.org/cms/press/press-r… nstitute-researcher/

Provided by American Association for the Advancement of Science

4.8 /5 (37 votes)

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User comments : 69

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ziprar
4.7 / 5 (15) May 20, 2010
haha, ethnicists, religious fanatics and other -icsts must be going crazy right now :D
Hunnter
3.2 / 5 (5) May 20, 2010
Great success!

Only 4-6 more decades till i can finally get myself a Chocobo.
Caliban
3.2 / 5 (10) May 20, 2010
It's pretty simple- the technology itself is morally neutral, but as always, the purpose for wich it is utilized gives rise to the issue of morality.

Given that technology is almost invariably used for both "good" and "evil" purposes, it is only a matter of time before this technology is employed to create something harmful- bioweapons spring immediately to mind.

This is important technology to have, and the scietific enquiry from which it arose is important, too- it's just disheartening to know that in addition to all the good that will come of it, there will inevitably be evil, as well- and possibly evil big enough to completely overwhelm the benefit to be had.
illuminated1
2.6 / 5 (9) May 20, 2010
Synthia! The first man made life form. I think we should proceed very humbly and cautiously, there is still so much we don't know. We just learned this year how a plants genome controls growth, yet we have been feeding people GE foods for years? There will be consequences, like all the drugs like thermidiol we rushed to market that had teratogenic effects and made flipper babies. My attitude has nothing to do with religion or ethics, its just bad population biology to rush these things.
newscience
1.9 / 5 (15) May 20, 2010
You may think that there are those that understand all the workings of the human body and gene expression, but they do not know. Genes are connected to a vast network and can express in realtime. Modern molecular biology has gone through a major shift in the last ten years. These people do not understand it in enough detail to be playing around like this. It is sloppy and reckless and mostly about patenting life for money.
Patent law needs to be changed before something escapes from the lab.
rincewind
4.6 / 5 (14) May 20, 2010
This feat marks a tremendous milestone in our understanding and should be celebrated as such. Eureka!

At the same time, this power requires a high degree of responsibility. Venter & Co. duly acknowledge the 'ethical implications', but more discussion and debate will be needed to help us transition as safely as possible to this new (& inevitable) era of technology.
Caliban
3.8 / 5 (4) May 20, 2010
Yes- the genie is out of the bottle. Let's see how successfully it can be incorporated into the life of the World.
ormondotvos
3.8 / 5 (12) May 20, 2010
It's a step, and a small one, but it's heartening, if for no other reason than that it might shut up the pro-lifers who want to define when life begins.

We've had the ability to design bioweapons (and mukes) for decades. Don't freak out.
HaveYouConsidered
3.4 / 5 (11) May 20, 2010
This technology is going to be cheap and easy all too soon. The ultimate sort of rapid-prototyping printer, yes? Brew your own life forms. There are already amateurs doing genetic engineering at home. I can't wait to see them start doing this sort of synthesis at home, and tossing the bugs down the drain at the end of the day--to what outcome in the wild? Who knows. Someday mega-years from now, long after we're gone, some poor suffering grad student (of that day's most advanced species) will be struggling to figure out how evolution seemed to go nuts just about now, in the fossil record.

lw7av
3.7 / 5 (10) May 20, 2010
One small step to immortality or accidental extinction.
Mongo
2.3 / 5 (18) May 21, 2010
I applaud the achievement but this is being reported as the creation of synthetic life. This bacteria is no more synthetic life than a Frankenstein monster. When a scientist makes life from nothing instead of putting the "legos" back together differently, I'll be impressed.

It bugs me the way these events are reported. They are always reported with the most dramatic spin possible instead of the truth.
thales
4 / 5 (11) May 21, 2010
When a scientist makes life from nothing instead of putting the "legos" back together differently, I'll be impressed.


IMO, the distinction is not so clear. For one thing, "from nothing" is impossible (as opposed to difficult). Come on, what do you want? It's always going to be legos; they'll just get smaller and smaller as we gain understanding.

I think this kind of objection is always going to be around, because one can always argue that any creative work was derived from something else.
Husky
4.8 / 5 (8) May 21, 2010
it's like they rebuild a PC's BIOS from scratch , only they still needed a motherboard provided by nature to host it.

As the Fallout 3 annoying man used to say: "Are we there yet?"

And it still boggles the mind how nature has overcome this chicken/egg problem, but maybe black smoking ocean vents provided the first basic motherboard upon wich a bios could be build by its spweing chemicals and temperature gradients.
...Getting there, but not until we synthesize the motherboard too
SmartK8
4 / 5 (4) May 21, 2010
If this result will be easily reproducible (not a lucky shot), it's truly a milestone. It's such a claim, that many verifications are needed, and healthy scepticism is in order. But it makes me glad, that I'm here when it happened. The Nobel prizes are being made right now :). Some of you may object, that this is not a truly creation of life, but if you think about it, it's not really needed, for it to be truly life-changing. Rejoice!
iknow
2.1 / 5 (8) May 21, 2010
I applaud the achievement but this is being reported as the creation of synthetic life. This bacteria is no more synthetic life than a Frankenstein monster. When a scientist makes life from nothing instead of putting the "legos" back together differently, I'll be impressed.

It bugs me the way these events are reported. They are always reported with the most dramatic spin possible instead of the truth.


I have nothing more to add to this spot-on analysis.
ZeroX
1 / 5 (14) May 21, 2010
IMO the experiments with artificial life are dual to collider experiments with LHC at low energy density scale. And their risk, i.e. the risk of avalanche-like outbreak of new form of matter is analogous.

Such experiments should be done outside of Earth at the same way, like the LHC experiments. This is natural consequence of precautionary principle and ethical imperative, too ("we shouldn't interfere the God's job"). I believe, this imperative is well reasoned at physical entropy level.

http://en.wikiped...rinciple

Such experiments could be done only when after we colonize the neighborhood of Earth - so we could escape to it at the case of outbreak.
Djincs
1.7 / 5 (6) May 21, 2010
ZeroX
go play videogame, you are adopted
KronosDeret
3 / 5 (5) May 21, 2010
Huray and KUDOS and +3 points to Mr's Venter team and effort.

Of course its a lego. What more is life than unintentionaly put together lego? They understood all mechanisms neccesary for metabolism and reproduction of a living thing. That itslef is extraordinary. That DNA code was assembled from known pieces, did anyone expected anything else? You need peptides for cell function and those are coded by exact strand od GTCA letters. And they borrowed those receipts from another living things. So what?

Lego is one of the smartest toys ever, it teaches you that when you have piesec and understanding, you can create everything you can imagine.

And we as molecular automatons have now understanding of our own bulding blocks. That is just amazing.
ZeroX
1 / 5 (9) May 21, 2010
ZeroX go play videogame, you are adopted
History just learns us, if some disaster can happen, it will happen - less or more lately. Nuclear energy is safe, but we still experienced Chernobyl.
KronosDeret
1.1 / 5 (8) May 21, 2010
Nuclear energy is safe, but we still experienced Chernobyl.


Fision energy is NOT safe, graffit reactors are not safe, more so if they are operated out of their limits by morons.
Djincs
3 / 5 (5) May 21, 2010
ZeroX go play videogame, you are adopted
History just learns us, if some disaster can happen, it will happen - less or more lately. Nuclear energy is safe, but we still experienced Chernobyl.

it is silly to compare this things, if everybody thought like you we shoud have been in the stoneage, this isnt danger for no one, the knowledge from this brunch of sciense will help for lots of things, people like these move the progres forward and should be admired, not criticize.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.5 / 5 (4) May 21, 2010
Excellent breakthrough.

I bet the dogmatists are going mental. I look forward to the day that this technology becomes more advanced and common place. No more cleaning with harsh solvents and nasty chemicals. Just a spray bottle of Formula 409 bacterium and let sit over night. Truly epic. This will certainly have huge rammifications on how we view and interact with the world.
DGBEACH
1.3 / 5 (6) May 21, 2010
Out of curiosity, can someone explain why they would use E-coli instead of something which is not dangerous to humans?
Djincs
3.8 / 5 (5) May 21, 2010
not all strains of e coli are harmful(the majority are common in the intestines and they are good), I doubt they have used a nasty one
Forestgnome
1 / 5 (3) May 21, 2010
It's a step, and a small one, but it's heartening, if for no other reason than that it might shut up the pro-lifers who want to define when life begins.

You're right. Life begins at the cellular level!
Skeptic_Heretic
4 / 5 (4) May 21, 2010
It's a step, and a small one, but it's heartening, if for no other reason than that it might shut up the pro-lifers who want to define when life begins.

You're right. Life begins at the cellular level!

Too bad for Viruses.
baudrunner
1.6 / 5 (5) May 21, 2010
There is a practical consideration here. This experiment proves it can be done, but our knowledge of these things is still in quite a primitive stage. The possible outcome of a mass-produced "good" synthetic microbe could be disastrous. We haven't even yet scratched the surface of DNA to find out what does what, and now we are already synthesizing life? Hold on!
ZeroX
1 / 5 (8) May 21, 2010
I look forward to the day that this technology becomes more advanced and common place..

We have trangenic pollen widespread already. As the result bees and bats are vanishing from pollen induced allergies and the superpests are spreading widelly.

http://www.guardi.../gm.food
Djincs
3.8 / 5 (4) May 21, 2010
I look forward to the day that this technology becomes more advanced and common place..

We have trangenic pollen widespread already. As the result bees and bats are vanishing from pollen induced allergies and the superpests are spreading widelly.

http://www.guardi.../gm.food

yeah and the pesticides are much more good solution,
millions of people are intocsikated, and 18,000 die every year, and this pesticides kills every animal in the field not only insects.No mater how you kill a pests it will evolve to survive, dont blame this tehnology to be bad, because its not
ZeroX
1.8 / 5 (10) May 21, 2010
The problem is, the GMO solution is only temporary solution, until transgenic superpests and superweeds adapt - whereas superweeds would survive a much longer, because we learned them. In such way, we can get into situation, even normal pesticides would not help us.

http://www.popsci...s-fields

Due the retreat of pollinators many people can die from starvation. But there are another problems with GMO technologies because of their unpredictability:

Monsanto GM-corn harvest fails massively in South Africa

http://www.digita...e/270101

Just because you don't know about failures of this technology, it doesn't mean, it's good, because it isn't. My stance is based on knowledge, whereas your one on the belief.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.3 / 5 (3) May 21, 2010
Just because you don't know about failures of this technology, it doesn't mean, it's good, because it isn't. My stance is based on knowledge, whereas your one on the belief.
Then you'd already know that the reason why the GM crops fail in Africa is due to the low quality of the soil, not the inability of the crop to perform.
SmartK8
5 / 5 (1) May 21, 2010
Some more info from Craig Venter himself, just published on the TED (video).

http://tinyurl.co...eticLife
Djincs
3.3 / 5 (4) May 21, 2010

transgenic superpests- do you belive yourself, if the pests adapt to bt toxin another molekule will be discovered which will do the job
about weeds -roundup is used not only in gmos, I used it alot too
not every gmo crop is 100% succes but this doesnt meen we shouldnt develope them
Djincs
3.3 / 5 (3) May 21, 2010
about bees- I told you they are dieing much more due to pesticides(phosporoorganicchemicals), and bees dont eat polen in big amounts from corn- the corn is polinated from wind it dont blooms and dont attract bees , gmo reduse the use of pesticides with up to 80% this is the facts not wishfull thinking
Djincs
4 / 5 (5) May 21, 2010
and the golden rice can save hundreds of children from blindeness due to vitA deficiency- is that a failure
whygreen
1.7 / 5 (7) May 21, 2010
The good parts of the research are obvious ,the bad parts are the mistakes which may lead to the creation of deadly diseases for which man has no immunity. I have first hand knowledge of universities and government lying when they think they will start a private profitable company, so suppressing research of contrary opinion. My own research (www.cancerfraudbadbiotech.com) did just that , Cell Death Signal Gene theory is actually what Georgetown Medical reported with their Breast cancer gene discoveries a few days ago. How many women suffered who didn't have to? The research, grew into the Viroid Thermodynamic Theory on the Origin of Life. Briefly it says,genes are derived viruses, disease control the rate of evolution, and genes have specific positions in the genome so uncontrolled diseases do not arise. A fmr US Surgeon Gen has regretted my treatment while Noam Chomsky, Kyoto winner, said theory may be of phenomenal importance to mankind.Venter may have opened man to killer diseases
JayK
2.6 / 5 (5) May 21, 2010
"whygreen" ranks very high on the crackpot score sheet.

http://math.ucr.e...pot.html

Thanks to whoever clued me into that score sheet, it makes it fun to try to determine a crackpot number score.
Alizee
May 21, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Alizee
May 21, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
theapc
2 / 5 (4) May 21, 2010
This technology does not compare to the GMO crops that currently saturate the conventional market. That would be microprojectile bombardment which produces unpredictable DNA damage and aberrant mutations, some visible, some not (the latter being the ones on store shelves).

http://www.hindaw...abs.html

This technology may prove interesting in such applications however the safety risks will not be truly mitigated until such time as accountability can be ensured and motivation is ethical. That time is not today.

As for me, I consider the human relationship to food to be one of evolved symbiosis, which places such crops well outside my palatability.
Djincs
2.3 / 5 (3) May 22, 2010
about bees this failure of the hives is presented in allso in many europian countries where the gmos are prohibit, a german study about the efect of bt toxin- bees fed only with bt polen shows that this only decreas their imune sistem, after all they are insects and this bt toxin is toxic to insekts , but if the bees feed from feald spreid with pesticide they are dieing 100%, bt toxin is much more enviremental friendly and to argue this is unserious!
Djincs
3 / 5 (2) May 22, 2010
"Actually its content is very low in transgenic rice - it's just a colorful propaganda, whose only purpose is to fabricate some reason for introduction of transgenic plants on the market."
yes low but enough, stop with this conspiracy, things arent black and white , but the benefits are real, and the further developments of this tehnology will cope with the bad parts.
Djincs
1 / 5 (1) May 22, 2010
in the polen bt toxin is in less ammount compared with the plants at general, and I think soon it will be posible to plase the gene in the right place in order to be prodused only in the parts of the plants you want.
about the replasement of the varieties it is process all over the world and in cases where there is no gmo alternatives, and the good part is that with this tehnology you can create the plant with the features you want really fast, conventional crops are failing much more than gmo
Skeptic_Heretic
3.8 / 5 (4) May 22, 2010
To make things completely clear, I'm not GMO fanatist and I personally consider golder rice a relatively harmless product. But rice is grown in thousands of varieties, which provide adaptability to various natural conditions in East Asia and genetical immunity against pests.

The replacement of all these varieties by single one is both unfeasible, both it could lead into global failure of pure plantation and subsequent famines at the case of outbreak of some common pest or fungi. There are many other connections, which are difficult to estimate for me by now - for example the fact, the yellow color of golden rice covers the content of many widespread mycotoxins (citreoviridin or luteoskyrin).

I think this is the first thing you've said that I've 5 ranked. You're absolutely correct, monoculture is the practice that leads to the most problems. GMO monoculture is even worse due to how many people trust it to work perfectly.
Alizee
May 22, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Alizee
May 22, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
theapc
5 / 5 (3) May 22, 2010
I would like to contribute to the points about monocultures.

As an avid urban farmer and I will gladly testify to the fact that monocultures are horribly destructive both agriculturally and ecologically, and pests love them. The reason for the latter is obvious. Insects can go from plant to plant lacking any interspaced planting to deter or halt their progress. Permaculture methods in practice have proven their ability to far exceed the fictitious yield improvements of genetic modification ( ttp://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/science_and_impacts/science/failure-to-yield.html ).
Skeptic_Heretic
4 / 5 (4) May 22, 2010
I've still a problem with your approach, because your agreement is not based on the understanding of logic - but on the simple coincidence of existing knowledge of yours with my post. But whenever I say something, which is still perfectly logical, but unknown for you, you'll simply refute to believe me.

Well you have that wrong.
See, your statement is congruent with fact in this case, and as such I see relevance to its restatement in a public forum. Typically I do not find this in your rather verbose commentary and as such, rank accordingly.

Now as for the statement that "monculture is bad", we know this to be true. We've known this since a brilliant man or woman, many thousands of years ago, developed the concept of crop rotation. Growing only a single crop in a single area, without a corresponding replenishing crop subsequently, will result in the destruction of otherwise arable land, and greatly reduce future sustainability.

Djincs
3.7 / 5 (3) May 22, 2010
"Stop with bullying of other readers. The goal is 30 micrograms of carotene in 100g of rice."
I am from easterneurope, we are not so polite here:)
I chek this and actually there is golden rise 2, now this rise produse 37 micrograms per gram, and 144g per day will do the job, if they can increase the amount of vit A 24 times (compered with golden rise 1), this means they can do it again till it is enough, and no one says all the vit A necessary should come from this rise.
JayK
3.7 / 5 (3) May 22, 2010
Getting any vitamin A into their diet was the first goal. Their diet was so depleted of it that it was causing massive humanistic concerns for their continued survival and culture. Now Alizee just wants to complain that it isn't enough, so it shouldn't have been done because ..... well, she's a little vague on that, like she's vague on everything else she attempts to comment on.
Alizee
May 22, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Djincs
3 / 5 (2) May 22, 2010
this information which you rely on takes only the negative side of the topic,and in parts it is not true( in not polished rise there is no vit A)....

http://en.allexpe...rice.htm

I dont think this micotoxin is so big problem, and i dont think that the color does matter this is racism! (joke:)
and i dont think that these people are that stupid not to understand the benefits.
Alizee
May 22, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
plasticpower
5 / 5 (1) May 23, 2010
To all the nay-sayers who say this isn't very significant - you are wrong. It REPLICATES. It's by all definition a new life form, one that was programmed in the lab. The genome is completely custom, who cares where the protein shell came from. The amazing feat here is the fact that for the first time ever, humans put together the building blocks of life and these blocks began replicating, consuming resources and actually LIVING.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (2) May 23, 2010
To all the nay-sayers who say this isn't very significant - you are wrong. It REPLICATES. It's by all definition a new life form, one that was programmed in the lab. The genome is completely custom, who cares where the protein shell came from. The amazing feat here is the fact that for the first time ever, humans put together the building blocks of life and these blocks began replicating, consuming resources and actually LIVING.

Bingo, hence why I say the creationists must be going batshit, and from reading the comments, it appears they are.
hush1
1 / 5 (2) May 23, 2010
I'm having extreme trouble here.

1.)
I know that instantaneous adaptive amplification and instantaneous point mutation are independent mechanisms.

2.)
I am aware of the sheer volume of evidence for various environmental/nature-inducible instantaneous, continuous mutational mechanisms for ALL cells.

3.)
What is the difference between instantaneous continuous adaptive/point mutation and Mr. Venters' computer synthesis?

Yes, of course, Mr. Venters' (genome)assembly takes place literally manually - with respect to the purpose he has in mind. Isn't his mind Nature's product too? Who or what is in command here?

All cells are doing this (genome) assembly autonomously, constantly, continuously also - with respect to upholding metabolism adaptive to the cell's immediate survival and/or environmental/physical surroundings - Nature.
Who or what is in command here?
Djincs
1 / 5 (2) May 23, 2010
@hush1
I will help you, this is not a question of inventing something new, the big accomplishment is to recriate DNA, it may seem not so big deal for you but this DNA includes millions(or maybe hundrethousand I dont know for shure) nucleotides, imagine how dificult it is to sintesize that, it is a tehnical breightrough...and this shows that life is after all the most complicated chemical reaction and nothing spiritual or conected with some energy that we are not aware of, this make some people angry.
muggins
May 23, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
HeloMenelo
1 / 5 (8) May 23, 2010
O please, not angry at all, this does not show whatsoever that a human spirit is not connected to a human being no matter how deep you dig into the biological aspect.

What you see here is the physical mechanics/building blocks etc.. needed for a human spirit to reside in.

The science is the physical biological part, the spirit unexplained nor provable through science for
it is not of a physical nature hence cannot be observed by physical means.

Alizee
May 23, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Alizee
May 23, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Alizee
May 23, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (2) May 23, 2010
O please, not angry at all, this does not show whatsoever that a human spirit is not connected to a human being no matter how deep you dig into the biological aspect.
No one is suggesting the existence of a spirit of any form, nor are they trying to prove or disprove anything regarding to the metaphysical.

What you see here is the physical mechanics/building blocks etc.. needed for a human spirit to reside in.
You're pretty certain of this assertion.
The science is the physical biological part, the spirit unexplained nor provable through science for it is not of a physical nature hence cannot be observed by physical means.
Well ok, but you're stating that you've observed it. If it cannot be observed through physical means, what is your evidence for even bringing it up, much less for saying you know anything about the subject?

This is the problem, you say no one can know, but then you immediately insist that YOU know. This is bearing false witness.
Alizee
May 23, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
CSharpner
5 / 5 (2) May 23, 2010
I applaud the achievement but this is being reported as the creation of synthetic life. This bacteria is no more synthetic life than a Frankenstein monster. When a scientist makes life from nothing instead of putting the "legos" back together differently, I'll be impressed.

It bugs me the way these events are reported. They are always reported with the most dramatic spin possible instead of the truth.


They started with 4 bottles of chemicals and built a chain of DNA and booted it up and it replicated. That's as raw as it gets, mechanically speaking. They didn't come up with the DNA sequence though (they did modify it). Perhaps that's what you mean? I would also like to see them create a new DNA sequence from scratch (both chemically and the code itself). But, they DID create the DNA from scratch and they made it "live". They took non-living material and gave it life. THAT is incredible!
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (2) May 23, 2010
Majority line is to applaud it as a great technical advance, but not a scientific watershed..
Yes, because it's simply a mechanical experiment with results confirming what everyone who understands the theory of abiogenesis knew would come of the result. The question was, will it work? We all said yes, he proved, "Yes, it does work."
But, they DID create the DNA from scratch and they made it "live". They took non-living material and gave it life. THAT is incredible!

Not that incredible to someone who believes in magical incantations creating the world in 6 days.
HeloMenelo
1 / 5 (6) May 24, 2010
@Skeptic

Because of how you asses and understand life the evidence
i would present would not be testable, provable by physical means and that is the
only way you beleive something to exist or not. Not everything is physically testable, provable
however that does not mean that it does not exist and that is as far as i would go on this with you.
Because we know you would try and falsify it for it is not physically testable etc...
HeloMenelo
1.1 / 5 (7) May 24, 2010
continued..

Skeptic i enjoy reading the clarity you put into your comments on science itself but will not go and put what i beleive in front of you
for we see some things differently, hence what's the use arguing?

I am intelligent enough to understand that not everything is as it seems and that there is more
to life than what some of us think there is. Something unexplanable physically.

Obviously you are intelligent too,
but convinced yourself from an early age that if there's no physical evidence within human capabilities of testing and observing, it is not true and cannot exist.

Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (3) May 24, 2010
Because of how you asses and understand life the evidence I would present would not be testable, provable by physical means and that is the only way you beleive something to exist or not.
We're not talking about belief. I have no qualms with belief, except when it flies in the face of evidence intentionally. Deism and most beliefs don't do this. Creationism does. If something isn't testable I can't speak to it, that doesn't mean it does not exist.

However, when you say you KNOW something, that means you can prove it through demostrable evidence. If you believe in God, I have no problem with that. If you KNOW anything about God, you're lying unless you can produce demostrable evidence to show other what you KNOW.

You stated that you KNOW about the human spirit/physical body interaction.

Prove what you know, or recant and say you don't KNOW, but you believe.

Religion is belief. Science is knowledge. That is the difference.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (3) May 24, 2010
but will not go and put what i beleive in front of you for we see some things differently

But you didn't put what you believe in fornt of me, you claimed knowledge of the physical/spirit interaction.

If you have the knowledge you must be able to share it, otherwise you don't have knowledge, you have belief.

It's funny how when challenged you changed your stance from knowledge to belief, but I'm not concerned with belief. For example, I Know it is possible to travel forward in time, I do not believe it is possible to travel backwards in time and I don't KNOW if it's possible to travel backwards in time. Well "how do you know you can travel forwards in time?" You're doing it right now. Time is passing and you're still existing. You are traveling forward in time.

I can say I KNOW you can travel forwards in time because I can show you that it is true. Plus we have time dilation experiments that also show it to be true. That is evidence of knowledge, not belief.
blue7053
1 / 5 (3) May 24, 2010
I'm thinking of a bacterium being flushed down the drain because it didn't pass a test. I't wearing a little red t-shirt with yellow lightning flashes on it. The T-Shirt says, "I N D E S T R U C T O"
Skeptic_Heretic
1 / 5 (1) May 24, 2010
I'm thinking of a bacterium being flushed down the drain because it didn't pass a test. I't wearing a little red t-shirt with yellow lightning flashes on it. The T-Shirt says, "I N D E S T R U C T O"
Good thing bacterial labs don't use sinks and utilize high intensity sterilization parameters instead. Seriously, the alarm is unnecessary and born of non-scientific ignorance.
CHollman82
3.7 / 5 (3) May 24, 2010
I applaud the achievement but this is being reported as the creation of synthetic life. This bacteria is no more synthetic life than a Frankenstein monster. When a scientist makes life from nothing instead of putting the "legos" back together differently, I'll be impressed.


I'd like to see you make anything out of nothing... There will always be "lego bricks" that form the basis of anything we ever build, even if those bricks are at the atomic scale, will you be happy then?

The proposition of making something from nothing is nonsensical, and thus your objections here are nonsensical.
Gena777
5 / 5 (1) May 24, 2010
Does anyone have any information on the status of the ETC Group's challenge to the patent on Synthia? I find this issue fascinating -- in part because in the future, biotech companies could potentially find a way around the "naturally occurring" limitations on patenting organisms by creating synthetic versions of the organisms, instead. This could have far-reaching effects on patent law in general, the Myriad case in particular, and many other biotech issues ... not to mention bioethics, the future of humankind, etc. Please keep us informed on further developments!
http://www.genera...p-rights
HeloMenelo
1 / 5 (8) May 25, 2010
Sceptic, reading your quotes on my posts, your understanding of what i am saying
is incorrect, and if i reply to explain you would again misunderstand me, and that is most definately not an
insult. We just see some things differently.

The demonstratable evidence i have you would perceive as non-existant for one.
And i can guarentee that we would stretch this thread well over a few pages,
in which i do not have the time to dedicate to.

No matter how sophisticated one get's, words fail to describe some things,
It is within you to simply open a way of thinking, to
become aware of a different realization. Not to change your current realization,

just to add a realization, that went by unnoticed by yourself, or it could've been an extrinsic factor and is now unrecocnized.

It can be a sensitive matter, or not, either way i'm not the one to dive into it with you. Like i mentioned you know your science, you know it well. And that is good.
HeloMenelo
1.7 / 5 (6) May 25, 2010
Thanks for your interesting comments on this site!
Mongo
1 / 5 (2) May 26, 2010
I applaud the achievement but this is being reported as the creation of synthetic life. This bacteria is no more synthetic life than a Frankenstein monster. When a scientist makes life from nothing instead of putting the "legos" back together differently, I'll be impressed.


I'd like to see you make anything out of nothing... There will always be "lego bricks" that form the basis of anything we ever build, even if those bricks are at the atomic scale, will you be happy then?

The proposition of making something from nothing is nonsensical, and thus your objections here are nonsensical.


I can see that you are a super-literalist so I'll be more specific. When I say nothing, I don't literally mean non-matter, I mean the raw materials. All I am pointing out is that there is a big difference between putting a new engine in a 57' Chevy and taking a pile of raw ore and making an automobile. The cell is so much more complex than just RNA/DNA so I think my analogy is on.
thales
5 / 5 (3) Jun 01, 2010
I can see that you are a super-literalist so I'll be more specific. When I say nothing, I don't literally mean non-matter, I mean the raw materials. All I am pointing out is that there is a big difference between putting a new engine in a 57' Chevy and taking a pile of raw ore and making an automobile. The cell is so much more complex than just RNA/DNA so I think my analogy is on.


They did make the DNA out of raw materials in this case. The "legos" are therefore chunks of data, not chunks of physical DNA. So it is indeed impossible to make something from nothing, even if you're not literal-minded.

BTW, argument by analogy is usually the least persuasive approach. Just ask Alizee/ZeroX.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Jun 01, 2010
Helo, we've proven every step of abiogenesis in the lab. The reason why this research is interesting is that now we literally can play God, or Nature should I say. We can create life from nothing, and now we're reverse engineering it.
illuminated1
5 / 5 (2) Jun 09, 2010
Even if we do makes mistakes in our genetic engineering infancy, the earth's biology eventually will sort it out. Whether we like the sorting process or not is still a question.
"We can not go against nature, because man is a part of nature too." ~Love and Rockets