Synthetic Life? I Think Not

JBeukema

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What was actually done and what does it mean? The chemical synthesis of an entire bacterial genome, a very long string of DNA, about a million units in length, is a significant technical achievement. The DNA molecule was stitched together by joining about one thousand smaller fragments each about one thousand units long. To assemble these in the correct order, without significant error, is a great feat of modern organic chemistry. It is the largest single molecule ever made. Now that it has been done, it can be done again with different genomes.

Step two was the replacement of a natural genome with the replica. This also ranks as a significant achievement. The natural defenses bacteria have to protect themselves from invading DNA had to be overcome. Done once, this, too, can be done again.

Has man indeed made life? I think not. The replica is indistinguishable in form and function from the original. Were it not for marker tags introduced into the replica DNA, there would be no difference at all. It is as if one were to create a copy of Michelangelo's David, accurate down to the last crack and imperfection except for the signature, and call it new. Is the organism so created useful? No more so than the original, most famous for being small, with no known use outside the laboratory.
Synthetic Life? I Think Not - Science and Tech - The Atlantic
 

Old Rocks

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This is a very significant step. It is the beginning of being able to design small organisms, such as viruses, that can attack cancers, or be used as a vaccine against real viruses like AIDS.
 

PixieStix

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I am not a scientist by any means, but isn't it true that there is nothing on earth that is 100% synthetic? Doesn't it take some form of nature to "create" all these so called synthetic inventions?

Even if they whip them out of the thin air, they still had to use air :D
 

Dante

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I am not a scientist by any means, but isn't it true that there is nothing on earth that is 100% synthetic? Doesn't it take some form of nature to "create" all these so called synthetic inventions?

Even if they whip them out of the thin air, they still had to use air :D
The world is too flat! I'm tellin' ya. IF that crazy kid from down the block, Christopher, sets out on that Spanish ship---he ain't a comin' back!

:eek:
 

westwall

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A well written computer virus can be classified as life the way life is currently defined, the virus replicates itself, it can learn to hide and mutate itself to infect more computers etc. The only thing they lack is a metabolic process.
 

RetiredGySgt

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This is a very significant step. It is the beginning of being able to design small organisms, such as viruses, that can attack cancers, or be used as a vaccine against real viruses like AIDS.
Did you see the last Movie by Will Smith? Ya I want scientists making viruses.
 

opfor

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This is a very significant step. It is the beginning of being able to design small organisms, such as viruses, that can attack cancers, or be used as a vaccine against real viruses like AIDS.
Did you see the last Movie by Will Smith? Ya I want scientists making viruses.[/QUO




Really you are basing your opinion on a major scientific advancement on a Will Smith movie? FYI we already have made bioweapons that can wipe humans off the planet, or at least the majority of us. So that organism is cool but not dangerous.
 

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