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Scientists build first synthetic bacteria (photos)

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?
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By Andy Smith on
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1 of 9 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute claimed the successful construction of the first self-replicating, synthetic bacterial cell.

The synthetic cell is called Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0 and proves that genomes can be designed in the computer, chemically made in the laboratory and transplanted into a recipient cell to produce a new self-replicating cell controlled only by the synthetic genome.

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?

Above: Negatively stained transmission electron micrographs of aggregated M. mycoides JCVI-syn1.0.

Credit: Electron micrographs were provided by Tom Deerinck and Mark Ellisman of the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research at the University of California at San Diego.

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2 of 9 Andy Smith/ZDNet
“For nearly 15 years Ham Smith (right), Clyde Hutchison and the rest of our team have been working toward this publication today--the successful completion of our work to construct a bacterial cell that is fully controlled by a synthetic genome,” said J. Craig Venter (left), founder and president, JCVI and senior author on the paper.

"We have also been equally focused on addressing the societal implications of what we believe will be one of the most powerful technologies and industrial drivers for societal good," said Smth.

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3 of 9 Andy Smith/ZDNet
Negatively stained transmission electron micrographs of dividing M. mycoides JCVI-syn1.0.

“To me the most remarkable thing about our synthetic cell is that its genome was designed in the computer and brought to life through chemical synthesis, without using any pieces of natural DNA," said Dr. Clyde Hutchinson.

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Scanning electron micrographs of M. mycoides JCVI-syn1.

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Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0.

Credit: J. Craig Venter Institute

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

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

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

Credit: J. Craig Venter Institute

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9 of 9 J. Craig Venter Institute

Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0.

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