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  1. #1
    Senior Member Daedalus's Avatar
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    Default Artificial Life Boots Up: Manmade DNA Created In Lab

    WASHINGTON — Scientists announced a bold step Thursday in the enduring quest to create artificial life. They've produced a living cell powered by manmade DNA. While such work can evoke images of Frankenstein-like scientific tinkering, it also is exciting hopes that it could eventually lead to new fuels, better ways to clean polluted water, faster vaccine production and more.

    Is it really an artificial life form?

    The inventors call it the world's first synthetic cell, although this initial step is more a re-creation of existing life – changing one simple type of bacterium into another – than a built-from-scratch kind.

    But Maryland genome-mapping pioneer J. Craig Venter said his team's project paves the way for the ultimate, much harder goal: designing organisms that work differently from the way nature intended for a wide range of uses. Already he's working with ExxonMobil in hopes of turning algae into fuel.

    "This is the first self-replicating species we've had on the planet whose parent is a computer," Venter told reporters.

    And the report, being published Friday in the journal Science, is triggering excitement in this growing field of synthetic biology.

    "It's been a long time coming, and it was worth the wait," said Dr. George Church, a Harvard Medical School genetics professor. "It's a milestone that has potential practical applications."

    Following the announcement, President Barack Obama directed the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues he established last fall to make its first order of business a study of the milestone.

    "The commission should consider the potential medical, environmental, security and other benefits of this field of research, as well as any potential health, security or other risks," Obama wrote in a letter to the commission's chairwoman, Amy Gutmann, the president of the University of Pennsylvania.
    The rest of the story can be read here
    Artificial Life Boots Up: Manmade DNA Created In Lab


    This is great news
    The positive applications in the field of medicine, and science are mind boggling!

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  2. #2

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    Hubris.
    Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody Wang Chung tonight.

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  3. #3
    Energizer Bunny Resonance's Avatar
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  4. #4
    Senior Member durentu's Avatar
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    It'll be interesting to see what happens. It's nice that is survives a petri dish, but it won't get respect until it's let loose in the wild.
    "People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds; it is something one creates." - Thomas Szasz

  5. #5
    What is, is. Arthur Schopenhauer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EffEmDoubleyou View Post
    Hubris.
    Neo-Luddism.
    INTJ | 5w4 - Sp/Sx/So | 5-4-(9/1) | RLoEI | Melancholic-Choleric | Johari & Nohari

    This will not end well...
    But it will at least be poetic, I suppose...

    Hmm... But what if it does end well?
    Then I suppose it will be a different sort of poetry, a preferable sort...
    A sort I could become accustomed to...



  6. #6
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    When they tell me that have gone faster than the speed of light, I look the experiment up and find something interesting has happened but they didn't succeed in going faster than the speed of light.

    And when they tell me they have created artificial life, I look at the experiment and find they have turned one bacteria into another. This is a great achievement and who knows where it will lead. But it is not creating life from inanimate matter. So how life began is still a mystery.

    It's a bit like the perpetual motion machine. It is always tantalisingly out of our grasp.

  7. #7
    What is, is. Arthur Schopenhauer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    When they tell me that have gone faster than the speed of light, I look the experiment up and find something interesting has happened but they didn't succeed in going faster than the speed of light.

    And when they tell me they have created artificial life, I look at the experiment and find they have turned one bacteria into another. This is a great achievement and who knows where it will lead. But it is not creating life from inanimate matter. So how life began is still a mystery.

    It's a bit like the perpetual motion machine. It is always tantalisingly out of our grasp.
    What you speak of is impossible.

    The speed of light can never be exceeded and life cannot be created by some alchemical formula.
    INTJ | 5w4 - Sp/Sx/So | 5-4-(9/1) | RLoEI | Melancholic-Choleric | Johari & Nohari

    This will not end well...
    But it will at least be poetic, I suppose...

    Hmm... But what if it does end well?
    Then I suppose it will be a different sort of poetry, a preferable sort...
    A sort I could become accustomed to...



  8. #8
    Oberon
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    This frightens me. We can't even control something as simple as an undersea oil well. How can we be absolutely certain that we can control engineered life forms to ensure that they aren't destructive to the environment or to ourselves?

    It looks as though we could probably engineer a viable soil bacterium right now. A simple soil bacterium, if mismanaged, could be devastating to us.

    I'm all for technology, but this looks dangerous to me and I advise caution... the same degree of caution applied by nuclear engineers.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    This frightens me. We can't even control something as simple as an undersea oil well. How can we be absolutely certain that we can control engineered life forms to ensure that they aren't destructive to the environment or to ourselves?

    It looks as though we could probably engineer a viable soil bacterium right now. A simple soil bacterium, if mismanaged, could be devastating to us.

    I'm all for technology, but this looks dangerous to me and I advise caution... the same degree of caution applied by nuclear engineers.
    I agree. This brave new world can easily spin out of control.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Daedalus's Avatar
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    As all things new, this has both positive and negative implications...the same way the kitchen knife does.

    and yes..this is not a total-creation of a new life, but more of a modification of an existing one. One has to take baby steps before starting to run

    as for the speed of light example, nothing can go faster than the speed of light but, we can use a loophole, by utilizing wormholes.


    ps: its my personal belief that within 100-200 years humankind will have achieved immortality in the physical sense....at least immune to death by natural causes...such as disease and aging


    Quote Originally Posted by MagnificentMind View Post
    life cannot be created by some alchemical formula.
    if i rem correctly, the current theory is that it was by Abiogenesis

    Abiogenesis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    this could one day be replicated in labs.
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