Controversial US scientist announced again is artificial life form

American biologist Craig Venter has announced that he has created the first ever “artificial life form” on Earth at the J. Craig Venter Institute, a U.S. laboratory and research center.

Craig Venter in 2007

The Guardian Unlimited reports in 2007 that Venter may announce the discovery within a few weeks. Despite the reports, a spokeswoman for the offices where Venter works states that the Guardian Unlimited “jumped the gun” in reporting the event. AFP publish the news too.

In 2007 Pat Mooney, director of the Canadian bioethics organization 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.”

A genome was created using synthetic chromosomes made from bottles of chemicals, the chromosomes sequenced to create a genome using as a template an existing bacterium. A bacterium from different species then had its own genome removed and the synthetic one transplanted in its place. Venter’s achievement is that the new genome switched on and the new cell replicated to create new cells. A process likened to the booting of a computer with a new operating system.

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