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Scientists create 'alien' organism in a lab


Posted on Thursday, 8 May, 2014 | Comment icon 26 comments


The microbe's DNA differs from that of other life forms. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Christoph Bock

The first ever 'semi-synthetic' micro-organism is very different from all other life on Earth.

While very much terrestrial in origin, the genetically modified microbe possesses a unique genetic code thanks to the addition of an extra artificial piece of DNA that makes it completely unlike anything else alive.

Created from an E. coli bacterium, the micro-organism is potentially the first step towards a future in which microbial life-forms can be custom-built to possess key medical or industrial properties. While currently capable of replicating and passing on its new genetic information, the microbe has not yet been able to use it to produce any novel proteins.

"In principle, we could encode new proteins made from new, unnatural amino acids, which would give us greater power than ever to tailor protein therapeutics and diagnostics and laboratory reagents to have desired functions," said Professor Floyd Romesberg.

"Other applications, such as nanomaterials, are also possible."

   
Source: Independent | Comments (26)

Tags: Synthetic, Organism


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #17 Posted by toast on 9 May, 2014, 8:52
One of the, how do you call it misleadingly "thrills" but I call it applied science, has lead to mass production of human insulin originated from insulin of animal origin, using genetic modified E.Coli bacteria. Your "superbug" paranoia is C-movie stuff and unobjective. This is an asymmetric comparison. The african bees were cultured by crossbreed and not by manageable in-vitro processed gene mixture. Of course, the african bees were unpent by mistake but this population could had been minimized to zero meanwhile, by crossbreed with less agressive types, but this does n... [More]
Comment icon #18 Posted by cyclopes500 on 9 May, 2014, 10:32
This is probably just the stuff the US government's decided to allow the civilians to know about. I dread to think what their "advanced" muck's like.
Comment icon #19 Posted by White Crane Feather on 9 May, 2014, 17:21
Mary Shelly wrote about this I think.
Comment icon #20 Posted by White Crane Feather on 9 May, 2014, 17:24
Na we shouldn't worry about a thing. http://youtu.be/qjnm3V0xYjI
Comment icon #21 Posted by XenoFish on 9 May, 2014, 18:12
Isn't this how most horror movies start? Now the question is "what's the point?". If they engineer a life form that can turn a harsh planetary environment into a livable one. Then I'm all for that. Something like turning Mars into a lush green planet.
Comment icon #22 Posted by Imaginarynumber1 on 9 May, 2014, 19:11
And yet no mention of nuclear energy nor medicine. Just focus on the negative and hope that scary science goes away.
Comment icon #23 Posted by AZDZ on 9 May, 2014, 19:47
Come on, forgetaboutit. It's Friday!
Comment icon #24 Posted by taniwha on 10 May, 2014, 11:40
Your song is eerily similar to I am Legend, you know, the movie where the synthetic bug wipes out humanity? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6z-x45wJcw
Comment icon #25 Posted by qxcontinuum on 25 May, 2014, 5:40
And i bet it will escape somehow out in the real world , becoming after a quick evolution to some powerful superior being destroying humans , making place to a new superior race.
Comment icon #26 Posted by Mr Supertypo on 25 May, 2014, 10:33
you people should stop watching movies, cartoons and playing videogames....obviously you cant handle them


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