On The Verge Of Artificial Life

Aron Schatz
September 10, 2008

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If you are one of those people that gets scared about artificial life (meaning that humanity creates a new biological organism), you might want to start counting your days. Science is really close to producing the first chemical compound to artificial life jump. This is big.


Protocellular work is even more radical than the other field trying to create artifical life: synthetic biology. Even J. Craig Venter's work to build an artificial bacterium with the smallest number of genes necessary to live takes current life forms as a template. Protocell researchers are trying to design a completely novel form of life that humans have never seen and that may never have existed.

Over the summer, Szostak's team published major papers in the journals Nature and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that go a long way towards showing that this isn't just an idea and that his lab will be the first to create artificial life -- and that it will happen soon.


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