Anorak | Dr Craig Venter (God 2.0) Creates Synthia And Media Buzz From Nothing, Sort Of

Dr Craig Venter (God 2.0) Creates Synthia And Media Buzz From Nothing, Sort Of

by | 21st, May 2010

DR Craig Venter has created synthetic life from scratch.

Dr Craig Venter is not a Hollywood plastic surgeon. Nothing so starry. He’s a scientist at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Maryland, a place named in honour of the scientist who created life.

Says Venter of Venter, a boffin so good he named himself twice:

Is my science of a level consistent with other people who have gotten the Nobel? Yes.”

New life is called Synthia. Say Venter.

“This is the first synthetic cell that’s been made, and we call it synthetic because the cell is totally derived from a synthetic chromosome, made with four bottles of chemicals on a chemical synthesizer, starting with information in a computer.
“This becomes a very powerful tool for trying to design what we want biology to do. We have a wide range of applications [in mind].”

Noses. Ears. Faces. A new Michael Jackson. This one can do the let. But what of this creating life Dr Venter used a mix of chemicals, he obtained from where. The BBC tells us:

The researchers copied an existing bacterial genome. They sequenced its genetic code and then used “synthesis machines” to chemically construct a copy.Dr Venter told BBC News: “We’ve now been able to take our synthetic chromosome and transplant it into a recipient cell – a different organism. As soon as this new software goes into the cell, the cell reads [it] and converts into the species specified in that genetic code.”

The new bacteria replicated over a billion times, producing copies that contained and were controlled by the constructed, synthetic DNA.

“This is the first time any synthetic DNA has been in complete control of a cell,” said Dr Venter.

But is this the creation of life if they needed a bacterial host to produce this new organism?

Never mind the details, get a load of the press release. Sky News marvels at

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Posted: 21st, May 2010 | In: News Comments (6) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink