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Researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Md., say they have created the first self-replicating synthetic bacterial cell using man-made DNA. The 15-year, $40 million project consisted of synthesizing more than 1 million base pair chromosomes of a genome. The knowledge gained from the project could help develop biofuels, vaccines and other products beneficial to society, the Venter Institute contended. The Venter Institute team synthesized the 1.08 million base pair chromosome of a modified Mycoplasma mycoides genome.
Now the professional fear-mongers have something new to prate about. As if scientists have no conscience, and don't think through the implications of their work. While I applaud the Ventner Institute for engaging "professional ethicists", whatever they might be, I resent the pervasive media assumption that highly educated experts in scientific disciplines are incapable of recognizing and/or are blind to the broad societal and moral implications of the search for truth which lies at the very heart of all scientific endeavors. If hollywood, the media and the advocates of “government oversight” were one tenth as dedicated to the search for truth as are professional scientists, we’d all be much better off.
First reaction: it's great that some of the mystery has been taken out of the origin of life. Hopefully the idea will catch on and encourage doubters to accept evolution and legitimise it among the 40% of people who still doubt it.
Second reaction: what if these bugs get out of their bottle? That's a question everybody will be asking, so I'm surprised that it hasn't been anticipated by Venter's organisation, or their answer hasn't been reported yet! Somebody seems to be ignoring the obvious.
Third reaction:Biologists such as Richard Dawkins reckon that life originated only once on this world. What would be the effects and risks if it originated twice? Would life-form A demolish life-form B? Has this already happened in Earth's evolution? Is it in danger of happening now?