Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Venter makes synthetic life... or not yet?

Venter makes synthetic life... or not yet? Tuesday, 09 October 2007 Rumours of J. Craig Venter's achievements in creating artificial life are again circulating in the press – Ed Pilkington in the Guardian reported this weekend that Venter has successfully made a fully synthetic chromosome, dubbed Mycoplasma laboratorium. The chromosome reportedly consists of 381 genes, and in total contains 580,000 nucleotide base pairs. In a study published this June, Venter and colleagues switched two closely related species of bacteria by transplanting their genomes. This transplantation step would be needed to activate synthetic chromosomes as well. So far, however, the new work is not accompanied by a peer-reviewed publication. Venter "is poised to announce" the discovery in the next couple weeks, according to the Guardian article, and possibly even today, at the J. Craig Venter Institute's annual meeting. Nature's news blog, The Great Beyond points to a report in AFP, in which Heather Kowalski, the J. Craig Venter Institute's media contact, declined to confirm the breakthrough. "We have not achieved what some have speculated we have in synthetic life," Kowalski apparently told AFP. "When we do so there will be a scientific publication and we are likely months away from that." .........


For more on stem cells and cloning, go to CellNEWS at http://www.geocities.com/giantfideli/index.html
Read more: Creating life in the laboratory BBC - 2007/10/19 RELATED INTERNET LINKS: J Craig Venter Institute Massachusetts Institute of Technology Vanderbilt University Medical Center Harvard Medical School University of Rome Three Princeton University Los Alamos National Laboratory Southampton University Biobricks

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