quinta-feira, 20 de maio de 2010

Building live beings using Synthetic Genome

I’m sure you remember 1982 blockbuster Blade Runner, but, you probably don’t remember the Voight-Kampff device, which is a fictional tool that allow the user to determine whether or not a life form is synthetic, originating in Philip K Dick's science fiction novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Spelled Voigt-Kampff in the book, it also appeared in the book's screen adaptation of Blade Runner. Perhaps it will no longer be an instrument of science fiction anymore.

J. Craig Venter built a genome from scratch and used it to make synthetic life. In this week's Science Express, they describe the stepwise creation of a bacterial chromosome and the successful transfer of it into a bacterium, where it replaced the native DNA. Powered by the synthetic genome, that microbial cell began replicating and making a new set of proteins. Now, he and his team at the J. Craig Venter Institute have a dream that definitely will change the world, as we know it. This is the first step to create a synthetic life form. We are now able to design bacteria that produces biofuel. Or even dinosaurs like in Jurasic Park. In the future we could design our perfect wife with all the attributes desired, or even a “REPLICANT“ able to work in Saturn as we have seen in the film.

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