Fascinating, article from last week’s edition of The Economist.
Jan 24th 2008
The penultimate step towards the creation of artificial life has just been announced
LIKE a striptease artist in front of an eager audience, Craig Venter has been dropping veils over the past few years without ever quite revealing what people are hoping to see: the world’s first artificial organism. He has been discussing making one since 1995, when he worked out the first complete genetic sequence of a natural living organism. And, after a lot of hard graft and blind alleys, he and his team have almost got there. As they report in this week’s Science, they have replicated the genome of Mycoplasma genitalium, the species that was the subject of that original sequencing effort. It is not actual life, but it is surely the tease before the last veil finally falls away.