Craig Venter has built a synthetic chromosome
Pretty cool stuff.
CELEBRITY US scientist Craig Venter has built a synthetic chromosome using chemicals made in a laboratory, the Guardian newspaper reported today.
Dr Venter is to announce the discovery within weeks and could possibly unveil it as early as Monday, the newspaper added.
The breakthrough, which Dr Venter hopes could help develop new energy sources to combat global warming, would be "a very important philosophical step in the history of our species," he told the paper.
"We are going from reading our genetic code to the ability to write it. That gives us the hypothetical ability to do things never contemplated before," he added.
The chromosome which he and his team has created is known as Mycoplasma laboratorium and, in the final step of the process, will be transplanted into a living cell where it should "take control", effectively becoming a new life form.
Pat Mooney, director of the Canadian bioethics organisation ETC Group, told the paper that Venter was creating "a chassis on which you could build almost anything"."It could be a contribution to humanity such as new drugs or a huge threat to humanity such as bio-weapons.