On May 20, 2010, after 15 years of work and $40 million investment, a 20-person team from the J. Craig Venter Institute created the first artificially controlled bacterial chromosome.
Scientist accused of playing God after creating artificial life by making designer microbe from scratch – but could it wipe out humanity?
In 2010 President Obama asked his Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to assess the nascent field of synthetic biology. The biotech industry had already taken precautions against the DIY-ers, prohibiting companies from selling deadly pathogens to anyone without serious credentials and a certified lab. But in May 2010, when entrepreneur J. Craig Venter announced the creation of Synthia, a bioengineered life-form capable of replicating itself, the science underlying synthetic biology suddenly seemed worth scrutinizing in depth. Synthia had been created with off-the-shelf parts, mostly purchased online.
Listen to the NPR Story by Clicking Here:
The commission’s panelists completed their report in December 2010, recommending that hobbyists be watched but neither regulated nor barred. The conclusion unleashed a torrent of protest, including a letter warning of possible inadvertent releases and environmental and public health threats, which was signed by 58 organizations from 22 countries around the world. Even Harvard molecular geneticist George Church got into the act, opining that DIYbio hobbyists should be licensed, much like amateur pilots, fishing enthusiasts, or shortwave radio operators.
Craig Venter Is a Great Marketer
J. Craig Venter
on Synthetic Biology at NASA Ames
- Future Predictions: New Artificial Life Form Created! First Synthetic Cell! “Synthia” Created by Emailing Genetic Code – Replicates Billions of Times in Lab
- The future (NOW) includes the creation of synthetic biological organisms
- Algae oil bubble prediction as Exxon Mobil funds Synthetic Genomics $300 million
- Future holds clear that synthetic biology will rival the IT industry in the next decade
- Future News: The Biological World of Venter Means Creating Synthetic Biological Organisms