30 January 2006

New Reports on Synthetic Biology

Biosingularity Blog links to an exciting suite of articles in The Scientist. These articles discuss different aspects of the revolutionary new quest to build artificial living cells. Go here for the starting point, then follow the links to the other stories.

Craig Ventner (pictured above), is a prominent part of the The Scientist discussions. He is famous for accelerating the project to map the human genome, and now wants to be the first to synthesize a living, reproducing cell. Different researchers are working on various approaches to synthetic cells.

Thanks to Snowcrash at Biosingularity for the link.

Creating living, reproducing cells, is one way to learn about the necessary mechanisms of life that have evolved over billions of years. It may be the best way to learn to improve on those mechanisms, in the long run. The hit or miss methods often used in biological research have worked well in discovering the various pieces of the puzzle. We know that the puzzle has more pieces than we have in the box. We also know that the pieces, once we know we have them all, will have to be put together in certain ways, or the puzzle will not "work."

Fortunately there are many tricks that have been learned over the years in science, engineering, information science, etc. that should come in handy in the many variations of the assembly process.

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