NOP, just playing human....

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "donnie damana" <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, May 31, 2010 10:56 PM
Subject: [wanita-muslimah] Fwd: [FKUGM] Scientists create a living organism

> Playing GOD?
> :D
>> Scientists create a living organism
>> (FT) -- Scientists have turned inanimate chemicals into a living organism 
>> in an experiment that raises profound questions about the essence of 
>> life.
>> Craig Venter, the U.S. 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. "We have passed through a critical 
>> psychological barrier," Dr. Venter told the FT. "It has changed my own 
>> thinking, both scientifically and philosophically, about life, and how it 
>> works."
>> The bacteria's genes were all constructed in the laboratory "from four 
>> bottles of chemicals on a chemical synthesizer, starting with information 
>> on a computer," he said. The research -- published online by the journal 
>> Science -- was hailed as a landmark by many independent scientists and 
>> philosophers.
>> "Venter is creaking open the most profound door in humanity's history, 
>> potentially peeking into its destiny," said Julian Savulescu, ethics 
>> professor at Oxford University. "This is a step towards ... creation of 
>> living beings with capacities and natures that could never have naturally 
>> evolved. The synthetic bacteria have 14 "watermark sequences" attached to 
>> their genome -- inert stretches of DNA added to distinguish them from 
>> their natural counterparts. They behaved and divided in lab dishes like 
>> natural bacteria.
>> M mycoides was chosen as a simple microbe with which to develop and prove 
>> the technology. It has no immediate application. But scientists at the J. 
>> Craig Venter Institute and Synthetic Genomics, the company funding their 
>> research, intend to move quickly on to more useful targets that may not 
>> exist in nature. 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.
>> The researchers built up the synthetic genome of M mycoides, with its 
>> million chemical letters, by stitching together shorter stretches of DNA, 
>> each about 1,000 letters long. They then transferred the completed genome 
>> into the shell of another bacterium M capricolum whose own DNA had been 
>> removed. The transplanted genome "booted up" the host cell and took over 
>> its biological machinery. After 30 cell divisions, there were billions of 
>> synthetic bacteria in the lab dishes -- all of them making exclusively 
>> the biological molecules associated with M mycoides.
>> Experts warn of the risks as well as the benefits of synthetic biology. 
>> "We need new standards of safety evaluation for this kind of radical 
>> research and protections from military or terrorist misuse and abuse," 
>> said Prof. Savulescu.
>> -- 
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