Scientists build first synthetic bacteria (photos)

Scientists build first synthetic bacteria (photos)

Summary: It is hoped that this discovery will lead to the development of many important applications and products including biofuels, vaccines, pharmaceuticals, clean water and food products. Cleaning up oil spills maybe?

TOPICS: Health

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  • Images of M. mycoides JCVI-syn 1.0 and WT M. mycoides.

  • Images of M. mycoides JCVI-syn 1.0 and WT M. mycoides.

  • The assembly of a synthetic M. mycoides genome in yeast.

    Credit: J. Craig Venter Institute

Topic: Health

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  • RE: Scientists build first synthetic bacteria (photos)

    "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should"
  • RE: Scientists build first synthetic bacteria (photos)

    Great! Now we can kill ourselves faster than before!
  • This can be scary in the wrong hands

    with great power come great responsibilities ... until the technology is discovered by evil minds, and it be a game to create synthetic deadly bacterium strains.
  • RE: Scientists build first synthetic bacteria (photos)

    This is exciting news. The new knowledge we can gain from such an accomplishment will benefit mankind for generations to come.
  • RE: Scientists build first synthetic bacteria (photos)

    I'm just happy that I lived long enough to see the future and actually live in it...
  • Still needs a real cell

    We made synthetic DNA that controls a real biological cell's development. Not to take away from the achievement but we didn't create a lifeform here. That is still a reserved capability.
    • RE: Scientists build first synthetic bacteria (photos)

      @ScotlynHatt Even if it's "just engineered DNA" it does not mean that this is a science experiment. If it's self-replicating, we have, in some small way, discovered the power of God.
  • RE: Scientists build first synthetic bacteria (photos)

    This is scary! At least with bacteria an antibiotic can be made to cure it. It is when they make virus that is truly scary, because virus require a vaccine. I wonder who is funding this research, that answer will tell you where this is really going.
    • RE: Scientists build first synthetic bacteria (photos)

      I agree, finding out who funded this would be interesting, cause then we can see what direction greed will take us, since greed is what drives our society.
  • RE: Scientists build first synthetic bacteria (photos)

    They are not playing God. If there is a god of some kind, he or she or it have given these men the abilities and power to make this discovery. It must be part of God's plan right? So we should celibrate.<br>Of course it is another part of the never ending proof that GOD is created from our minds and nature just like everything else. So we should all try to believe in ourselves and live in wonder of nature.
    • RE: Scientists build first synthetic bacteria (photos)

      @BurlingtonBrent Assuming God exists does not necessarily mean that everything that happens has his stamp of approval. That will obviously vary depending on the religion.

      And where is the supposed never ending proof that God is created from our minds? Just because you can whine about a topic does not mean you have created a proof of any kind.

      As much as we'd like to try to explain everything without God, there's still the fact that anything exists at all, and what explanation do we have for our existence? Nothing. There's no reason why anything exists at all. Why do space and time even exist? Who knows, and so far the religious are the only ones with anything resembling any sort of answer.
      • RE: Scientists build first synthetic bacteria (photos)

        Whatever CobraA1, these men are brilliant and I wonder at the future their discovery may bring for good and bad. It must have been an amazing day in their lab when their experiment worked.
      • Religion is not an answer.

        @CobraA1: Religions provide no answers, it is just the figment of cultures that died out thousands of years ago, and many religions are built on other religions, just like Christianity. Christianity is built on Ancient Judaism and Ancient Egyptian mythology. The old testament is the ancient Judaism, and the New Testament is Ancient Egyptian warmed over. Names and places have changed but the core story is Egyptian.

        In reality you can also look at religion ancient peoples lack of understanding of technology. In several religions including Christianity, you can find evidence that perhaps the beings whom they thought were god's were really just alien visitations.

        Here is a fun fact for you. The ancient Myans, Egyptians, and Native Americans all had three sites that matched up with Orion's belt. And consequently if you drew a line through the constellation you would come to a star called Sirius, which is a trinary star system. If you draw a line through these three locations on earth it would lead you to a significant place of worship or center of their culture. What is so interesting about that, is Sirius cannot be seen with the naked eye from earth.

        Religion is just an answer for something someone couldn't understand or had words to describe what they were seeing.
        • @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh

          I like your comment, What is so interesting about that, is Sirius cannot be seen with the naked eye from Earth. Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky. It is there twinkling in all different colors every night. Also Sirius is a binary star system not a trinary, unless you are including our star with it. You are right in stating that they couldn't have known it was a binary star system. If you stand outside and look at it for long enough there looks to be 2 objects, but that could just be misinterpretation of the 8.5 light years away. Its still remarkable though. If you want to see it. Its in the constellation Canis Major around Orion's belt. It twinkles amazingly
  • actually, this is not synthetic life

    What is presented here is a fully synthetic DNA that has been successful transplanted into a bacterium. The innovation here is merely the word "full." Genetic manipulation and successful reproduction of bacterium has been around for years. Rather that incorporating genetic code into the bacteria DNA, they made one entirely to replace the bacteria DNA. Accordingly, the effect is along a continuum of effect that has been growing for decades. This is not a categorical break-through in terms of the idea of manipulating life...we've been doing it for a long time now.

    The molecular properties of a cell are incredibly complex; far more complex than even the most advanced micro-processors. The actual synthetic construction of a cell is very far away, and will likely never be cost-effective (i.e. cheaper to just grow them).
  • RE: Scientists build first synthetic bacteria (photos)

    Truely awesome, the dawn of new age.

    However Synthetic Genomics Inc. and J. Craig Venter Institute gets lot of it's money from BP Plc and Exxon.
  • RE: Scientists build first synthetic bacteria (photos)

    must be the numbnutt republicans creating this

    they could not destroy us with Capitalism so they will

    try again using this bacteria
  • Not as exciting as it's made out . . .

    Turns out they're still copying the DNA sequences from other organisms. Not exactly as designed from scratch as they claim. Sure, a computer was involved, but it's still a cut-and-paste thing. You can't really design it completely from scratch, as we still haven't completely figured out the protein folding thing, so we're still borrowing the code from other cells.

    And of course it's also still only the DNA - the rest of the cell is still totally natural.

    It's a very interesting (and possibly scary, considering how much it could be abused) thing.
  • RE: Scientists build first synthetic bacteria (photos)

    They basically copied DNA of an existing bacteria and added a watermark of sorts. So its not like they created their own designer bacteria. We don't really know how DNA works or rather we know only a small portion of how it works. E.g. the different splicing codes.

    What is incredible is how long it took and what was actually required to basically just copy a genome. In the scheme of things on the path to creating an artificial life form it is about as basic as things get. I would imagine several hundred orders of magnitude easier than what is required. Just guessing though.
  • RE: Scientists build first synthetic bacteria (photos)

    Great news! Like other technologies, building synthetic bacteria is neutral. It is only in the use of such technology that morality comes in when assessing the outcome of its use in terms of the damage or benefit, whether real or imagined, to all of mankind.