First artificial life 'within months'

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First artificial life 'within months'




By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
Last Updated: 6:42am BST 29/06/2007

Scientists could create the first new form of artificial life within months after a landmark breakthrough in which they turned one bacterium into another.

In a development that has triggered unease and excitement in equal measure, scientists in the US took the whole genetic makeup - or genome - of a bacterial cell and transplanted it into a closely related species.

This then began to grow and multiply in the lab, turning into the first species in the process.

The team that carried out the first “species transplant” says it plans within months to do the same thing with a synthetic genome made from scratch in the laboratory.

If that experiment worked, it would mark the creation of a synthetic lifeform.

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[ 28 June 2007: Message edited by: Snuckles ]