Dr Venter likened it to “changing a Macintosh computer into a PC by inserting a new piece of software” and stressed it would be more difficult in other kinds of cells, which have enzymes to snip the DNA of invaders.
But he said to achieve the feat, without adding anything more than naked DNA, “is a huge enabling step.”
“It’s a necessary step toward creating artificial life,” added microbiologist Fred Blattner of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Dr Venter said that, in the light of this success, the culmination of a decade’s work, he will be attempting the first transplant of a lab-made genome to create the first artificial life “within months.”
NEATOSHOP'S BLACK FRIDAY SALE
Save up to 25% off ALL T-shirts from the NeatoShop! Hurry - sale ends Nov 29, 2015.