Scientists Claimed He Created Artificial Life via Chromosomal Transfer

Craig Venter, the controversial DNA researcher who once tried to map the human genome for commercial purpose, is back at it again. This time, he claimed that he has created artificial life by constructing a man-made chromosome:

The Guardian can reveal that a team of 20 top scientists assembled by Mr Venter, led by the Nobel laureate Hamilton Smith, has already constructed a synthetic chromosome, a feat of virtuoso bio-engineering never previously achieved. Using lab-made chemicals, they have painstakingly stitched together a chromosome that is 381 genes long and contains 580,000 base pairs of genetic code.

The DNA sequence is based on the bacterium Mycoplasma genitalium which the team pared down to the bare essentials needed to support life, removing a fifth of its genetic make-up. The wholly synthetically reconstructed chromosome, which the team have christened Mycoplasma laboratorium, has been watermarked with inks for easy recognition.

It is then transplanted into a living bacterial cell and in the final stage of the process it is expected to take control of the cell and in effect become a new life form. The team of scientists has already successfully transplanted the genome of one type of bacterium into the cell of another, effectively changing the cell's species. Mr Venter said he was "100% confident" the same technique would work for the artificially created chromosome.

Link: The Guardian Article | Craig Venter Institute

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Now I can begin work on my diabolical swarm! bwhahaaha

And Dave, please stay away from science and go back to church. Where you can study completely plausible events like Noah's Ark and Virgin Births, and worship a genocidal god who likes to torture people.
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Anyway, the purpose is not to "make life." The purpose is to make a tool, a little machine to do this or that... whatever we design it to do. We've already manipulated bacteria many times to do certain things for us, even things as simple as making proteins for research. This just takes it a step further. It takes us one step closer to being able to design bacteria to do things like chew up sewage to make Hydrogen gas, or add to your daily vitamine regimen to help in digestion, or heck, maybe we could make an edible one to use as a food source for cattle or whatnot. The possibilities are only limited by our creativity and cleverness.
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This is astounding claim. Genetics is not nearly as simple as people imagine it to be. A chromosome is not simply a string of single unit genes likes pearls on a necklace. Every gene has its coding sequence, some noncoding intron sequences that are cut out later, a promoter to start mRNA production, an enhancer to boost it or in converse a repressor to shut it down, various other up and down stream effectors. Also, the cell can make modifications to permanently stop expression of a gene; it can also essentially tie up synthesis by packaging it in proteins. On top of all this, the genome encodes little RNAs (microRNA) that are capable to control the actual mRNA levels after the gene is transcribed to mRNA. Even after this, proteins need to be activated/deactivated/folded/unfolded/localized/reduced/oxidized/modified/etc/etc/etc to function properly.

To say that they've gutted the genome of a bacteria and made an entirely new species by putting the pieces back together... and saying they succeeded in making a living/replicating/functional organism is down-right EXTRORDINARY! Far from a hack-job.
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