Astonishing announcement today from the scientific community:
Scientists have turned inanimate chemicals into a living organism in an experiment that raises profound questions about the essence of life.
Craig Venter, the US genomics pioneer, announced on Thursday that scientists at his laboratories in Maryland and California had succeeded in their 15-year project to make the world’s first “synthetic cells” – bacteria called Mycoplasma mycoides.
Synthetic life. The possibilities seem immense, as do the potential abuses. I'll admit I'm a mugwump on the on morality side of this development (and, yes, I'll also admit I just learned the word mugwump a few days ago and have been looking for an opportunity to use it -- sue me), but this seems like an interesting application:
They are particularly interested in designing algae that can capture carbon dioxide from the air and produce hydrocarbon fuels.
Last year Synthetic Genomics signed a $600m agreement with Exxon Mobil to make algal biofuels. “We have looked hard at natural algae and we can’t find one that can make the fuels we want on the scales we need,” Dr Venter said.