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Researchers close to creating new life?

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Researchers close to creating new life?

Published: 6, 2007 at 11:08 P

LA JOLLA, Calif., Oct. 6 (UPI) -- A U.S. geneticist says a team he has put together is close to creating a new species of bacterium that would be the first artificial life form.

The research team headed by Hamilton Smith, who shared the 1978 Nobel Prize for Medicine, has already created a synthetic chromosome, The Guardian reported. The chromosome has a DNA sequence based on the bacterium Mycoplasmum genital with parts of its genetic makeup not needed to support life removed.

J. Craig Venter, founder of the La Jolla, Calif., research institute that bears his name, told the Guardian that the work “is a very important philosophical step in the history of our species.”

“We are going from reading our genetic code to the ability to write it,” he said. “That gives us the hypothetical ability to do things never contemplated before."

Venter is already controversial for his role in the study of the human genome.

Source: UPI

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