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Discussion in 'Current Events' started by RawBert, May 20, 2010.
Scientist today created a synthetic cell that actually reproduces. A living cell!
Those nutty scientists... they're always coming up with something.
Thats pretty cool...a living and reproducing cell
This is both awesome and scary, like all good science.
Can you say "ridiculously powerful biological weapons"?
From the BBC website-
This has to happen.
How is this materially different from mucking about with the DNA of a non-synthetic cell?
God I hope people actually move forward with this, this should not be used for weapons and should be used only for the purpose of enhancing life, not killing it off.
Aren't biological weapons banned internationally anyway?...
This time next year, we will all be zombies.
I'm sure I won't explain this well, but it is different because before what people were doing was manipulating the existing DNA sequence in a cell to get it to turn into something else. This time, they removed all genetic material from the cell, built their own genetic code (not necessarily from the stuff they removed) and put this new, previously nonexistent sequence back into the cell and got it to reproduce.
Essentially what they did was get a bacterium (I forget the species) and build up entirely synthetic DNA using a computer and then insert it into the host bacterium.
Although this DNA is created and not modified it is nearly exactly the same as the host bacterium DNA.
I'm not particularly worried about biological weapon creation with this - aside from being illegal diseases are generally infectious or deadly and not both - think the common cold (very highly infectious) vs. Ebola.
Great potentials for alternative fuels, curbing effects of global warming, creating organisms that eat oil from oil spills, etc. They'll need to regulate the heck out of it though.
Lets make Godzilla. Or something else large and terrifying.
One Oprah is enough.
Excuse me while I go lock myself in the basement.
I think it's fantastic news I can't wait to see how this gets used 5, 10 years down the track. Environmental applications, materials science, alternative fuels, medical science..... you name it. I just hope this doesn't get regulated out of existence. Hiding down in the basement I don't think so.
Heh Rockville, MD, that's where I live!
Can they regenerate aged cells and make people immortal with it? Obviously thismwould take awhile.
I doubt it - for one this is a bacterium cell and not a human cell.
Ageing encompasses all sorts of effects not just cell death, it's a complicated issue but one I hope gets sorted before I die.
What I mean is; in the future could they manufacture cells that the could retrofit into humans. Most aging occurs because of DNA's failure to copy correctly every time, right? Could these commuter generated cells be perfect DNA thAt would never fail at copying correctly?
Reminded me of a quote from my favorite book... "...Being against war is like being against glaciers..." -K.Vonnegut
Re: The breakthrough... I think it is great. I think that the positives that come about from this will far outweigh the negatives. Maybe they can implement this technology and methodology in a way that they tried to do with embryonic stem cells. This way we can get the research and the benefits without the anti-stem cell people impeding the progress?
I think those same stem cell research opposers aren't so thrilled with this breakthrough. Probably for the same reasons. They think we're playing God.
it's different because this way Venter makes a lot more money and can be on the first pages of all newspapers.
this "breakthrough' doesn't introduce any ethical issue that have not been there for many many years already.
there is obviously some technological improvement in what they achieved compared to what is already done in hundreds of labs around the world every day, but nothing earth-shattering.