Scientist Craig Venter creates life for first time in laboratory sparking debate about 'playing god'
Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/7745 ... g-god.html
Craig J Venter is not equal to Dr. Frankenstein or Dr Maverick?
Sir, remove the playing god content (They are not yet there!), what benefit would it be with creating new organisms? Venter wanted to see whether it is possible and took up the challenge, more like he wanted do it fast before someone else could do it.
First they sequenced the genetic code of Mycoplasma genitalium, the world's smallest bacteria that lives in cattle and goats, and stored the information on a computer. Then they used the computer code to artificially reproduce the DNA in the laboratory, slightly modifying it with a "watermark" so it was distinguishable from the original natural one. Finally they developed a technique of stripping bacteria cells of all original DNA and substituting it with the new artificial code.
The resulting "synthetic cell" was then "rebooted" and it started to replicate. The ability to reproduce or replicate is considered the basic definition of life. Dr Venter compared his work with the building of a computer. Making the artificial DNA was the equivalent of creating the software for the operating system. Transferring it to a cell was like loading it into the hardware and running the programme.
The main controversy from the project is the undue amount of publicity it received from the press due to Venter's showmanship, to the degree that Jay Keasling, a pioneering synthetic biologist and founder of Amyris says "The only regulation we need is of my colleague’s mouth".Scientists who were not involved in the study cautions that it is not a truly synthetic life form because its genome was put into an existing cell. The Vatican has not condemned the discovery, but claims it is not a new life.
It is estimated that the synthetic genome cost US$40 million to make and took 20 people more than a decade of work. Despite the controversy, Venter has attracted over $110 million in investments so far for Synthetic Genomics, with a future deal with Exxon Mobil of $300 million in research to design algae for diesel fuel.
Craig Venter has funded ethical studies, but has been criticised by scientists for over-dramatising the risks of bioterror or bioterrorism, which are misunderstood by the general public. One argument regarding bioterrorism is in regards to smallpox, which could be synthesised and inserted into existing related pox viruses. This approach could theoretically be used to recreate the virus, which has been completely eradicated, except for in two BSL-4 laboratories and digital genomes. Most countries stopped vaccination programs for smallpox by the late 1970s, making a major part of the current world population susceptible to the virus. However, just like the 2001 anthrax attacks, the SARS virus, Ebola scares in the west or other outbreaks scares the damages would be in reality limited and quickly contained.
So essentially, he did't create a new organism. What followed after this was the best experiment " Minimum genes required for a self replicating life
J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) conducted a study to find all the essential genes of M. genitalium through global transposon mutagenesis. As a result they found that 382 out of 482 protein coding genes were essential. Genes encoding proteins of unknown function constitute 28% of the essential protein coding genes set. Before conducting this study the JCVI had performed another study on the non-essential genes, genes not required for growth, of M.genitalium, where they reported the use of transposon mutagenesis. Despite figuring out the non-essential genes, it is not confirmed that the products that these genes make have any important biological functions. It was only through gene essentiality studies of bacteria that JCVI have been able to compose a hypothetical minimal gene sets. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimal_genomehttp://www.pnas.org/content/103/2/425.fullhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycoplasma_laboratorium
Now, mind you this M. genitalium
is obligate intracellular parasite, it is capable of infecting and growing inside a host cell. Obligate means it cannot reproduce outside the cell (after some genes are removed and some introduced they loose this property). So they basically started remove one by one gene, NO? (he transfered a transposon that creates random mutants, then he screened for minimal gene microbe) and testing whether the bacterium can reproduce or not and then they have succeeded or almost near to it.
It is upto your imagination whether they really funded a master Bioweapon? in the name of research is he hiding it? For me it is YES.
What advantages do we have with minimal genes organism?
Now don't look at the way it has got its story told. These kind of studies give enormous information about how to control fate of the organism. Say I want it produce most powerful lethal toxins in high amount it will do my job. Essentially , what he created is system, a micro-biological system under his control. Say I want to kill some minister , you invite them for dinner , and mix this genetically modified organism in food, they eat and go home, after few days he dies of some unknown disease. Imagine a disease you can cause and only you can cure, you can rule the world.
In an effect a biological micro robot.Now I bet if Indian scientists start this kind of work, World will bark in front our houses.
So far I put only anti humane threats from it, now lets look at what it can do in civil life. Many pharma companies world wide produce antibiotics, but the yield is historically low and costly to produce, now hijack the synthesis genes and put in M. laboratorium
, it will do the job in most efficient way ever possible. The applications are enormous in daily life, curd can be made in mins, cheese can be made in days, what not..
I cannot put images because of Copyrights but I will put links,https://www.ted.com/talks/craig_venter_unveils_synthetic_lifehttp://blogs.plos.org/dnascience/2013/10/10/how-craig-venter-created-life/http://www.theguardian.com/science/2010/may/20/craig-venter-synthetic-life-formhttp://www.jcvi.org/cms/home/