Gallery: Artificial Life: Scientists Create First Synthetic Living Cell


In a breakthrough for artificial life, scientists have created a single cell of yeast with a complete set of artificial DNA that functions and looks exactly like a natural cell of yeast. Spearheaded by Dr. Craig Venter and his team of scientists at the J Craig Venter Institute, the project has far reaching — not to mention philosophically questionable — implications. But if used in a controlled way, this remarkable breakthrough could revolutionize the medical and energy industries.

To create the cell, the J Craig Venter team assembled a set of DNA one million units in length that directly mirrored an actual strand of yeast DNA. They they replaced a regular yeast cell’s DNA with the artificially created DNA and the yeast cell began to act like a natural cell would. Dr. Venter called the cell, “the first self-replicating species we’ve had on the planet whose parent is a computer.” Dr. Venter eventually would like to take control over the entire genome of the cells he creates and thus could genetically engineer a cell to meet his goals of creating an extremely high yielding biofuel, or create a cell that could suck up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This project was paid for by Dr. Venter’s company Synthetic Genomics but Exxon has already signed a contract with them for $600 million dollars for research into biofuel from algae – if Dr. Venter’s group meets all of their milestones.

The advancement was just published in the Journal of Science, and Dr. Venter and his team are now fielding a barrage of questions asking about the implications of this breakthrough. Some people wonder if he is toying with a Pandora’s box. No one knows how these artificially directed cells will behave in nature and we are hoping researchers will keep them exclusively in labs until they can figure that out. All of the philosophical questions aside, this could be a major breakthrough in the production of renewable energy and the reduction of atmospheric pollution. “If we can really get cells to do the production that we want, they could help wean us off oil and reverse some of the damage to the environment by capturing carbon dioxide,” Dr. Venter told BBC about his discovery.

+ The J Craig Venter Institute

Via The BBC


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  1. The Next Mercedes Benz ... December 1, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    […] In their description they note that the vehicles will be “grown in the Mercedes-Benz Nursery through proprietary DNA. The customer’s specific desires are genetically engineered into the Star and the vehicle grows when this combines with the Seed capsule.” So not only will Mercedes be growing luxury vehicles, but they’ll have the capabilities to tailor the growth to fit your demands. It sounds like they’ve been in cahoots with Dr. Craig Venter… […]

  2. Dr. Burn October 29, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    dismantling a cell and fixing it back? is it like removing my cars part and reassembling it then when it work again you call it success??

  3. Truman Green July 25, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Another “pet rock” by narcissistic geneticists who claim that this reassembled DNA “…could revolutionize the medical and enery industries.” Yeah, right!

    I thought the Human Genome Project was supposed to do that.

    Or the new epigenetics hype that’s currently making the rounds.

    If there is any benefit from this fake DNA strand you can be sure that it will be assumed by the huge pharma(s)corpians and gene fiddlers who will foist another bunch of dangerous meds on the public like Gardasil, for a harmless virus that 98% of women will harmlessly contract, Vioxx, which has killed between 50 and 100 thousand dummies who believed the manufacturers, or the fake Swine fly vaccines, which don’t really work mainly because the WHO just invented the fake “pandemic.”

    Medical Science has been completely bought and corrupted by the money makers, people.

    And they’ve also bought many medical journalists to write glowing accounts of their new scam projects.

    Truman Green
    Surrey BC

  4. GlynneH June 10, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    If this is equivelent to a ‘Wright Brothers moment’ then in few years will this produce a stealth bomber?

  5. rsmurf May 27, 2010 at 10:50 am

    No one should be f***ing with stuff like this. Just like GMO CLONiNG and other crap.
    The people that are doing this have no idea what they are doing and what the consequences are. Stop it. BP said it had all bases covered, yea right!!!!!!!

  6. rubenvar May 26, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    I quote from above:
    “The J Craig Venter team assembled a set of DNA one million units in length that directly mirrored an actual strand of yeast DNA.”

    We can assume that they “re-assembled” an actual strand.
    Can someone elaborate?

  7. thunder299 May 25, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Its really a top project, but dont know how much time it takes to be fully working or used on commercial scale

  8. Dr.B.R.Patel May 23, 2010 at 4:33 am

    excellant inventation must be use for humanity cause.Arifical cell life can change world of medical field. My congratulation to J Craig Venter

  9. muvea patrick May 22, 2010 at 2:14 am

    cogratulations for success in that invention you made yourselves a great thing in this world .Thanks alot.if you did that just try how you can treat aids virus i know is possible for you.

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