Saturday, September 23, 2023
Contact    |    RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon  
You are viewing: Home > News > Science & Technology > News story
Welcome Guest ( Login or Register )  
Science & Technology

Scientists create semi-synthetic life forms

By T.K. Randall
January 24, 2017 · Comment icon 38 comments

The organisms possess an extended genetic code. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Christoph Bock
For the first time ever, researchers have succeeded in creating healthy organisms with synthetic DNA.
In what is being hailed as a major breakthrough that could lead to the creation of whole new life forms, Floyd Romesberg and colleagues at the Scripps Research Institute in California have managed to produce E coli microbes modified with an extended genetic code.

The research, which is aimed at producing new kinds of proteins for use in medicine, has made it possible for scientists to effectively program how the organisms will operate and behave.

The expanded genetic code includes two new molecules - X and Y - which the organisms absorb through feeding. This aspect of the process is also intended as a fail-safe in the unlikely event that the microbes ever manage to escape the lab.
While Romesberg and his team had managed to produce semi-synthetic microbes in the lab before, their previous efforts had seen the organisms die off almost immediately.

This time however their creations appear to be thriving.

"This is a major step forward in showing that a living cell such as a simple bacterium can be engineered to sustain a synthetic base pair not found in nature," said scientist Paul Freemont.

"This leads to the concept of semi-synthetic living systems that could be engineered to perform specific functions that would rely on a distinct genetic code compared to the natural genetic code."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (38)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #29 Posted by psyche101 7 years ago
That is right, like the Atomic Weapons. Not invented to killion thousands at once, but if the technology is available, it will be utilised, we cannot just sit on our hands in fear that we might blow ourselves up, sure we might, but I am not sure that would not be better than reverting to 11th century thinking to stay safe, the kids movie "The Croods"  Go ahead play God I say, and hurry up with my hoverboard. Back to the Future said we would have them by now.  They bombarded us with long articles about the Hadron ColliderTrying to find the God particleAnd everybody's arguing about whether or no... [More]
Comment icon #30 Posted by Glockornothing 7 years ago
Maybe they can finally find a cure for cancer, never mind no money in that.
Comment icon #31 Posted by paperdyer 7 years ago
Will there be a new organization called PETSA?  People for the Ethical Treatment of Synthetic Animals?
Comment icon #32 Posted by psyche101 7 years ago
My baby sister has been on a breast cancer team most of her life, she is only early thirties, but all the same, it is all she has ever done. She gets awfully excited over breakthroughs, she has shown me picture of proteins they have isolated in their pursuit, but lost on me, to me it just looks like lightning. She started here in Oz at UQ, then went to the Netherlands for about 6 years, and is now in Edinburgh.  From what I have personally witnessed, there is a heck of a lot of research going into cancer prevention and cure. There are just so many types is the hardest part about it all. 
Comment icon #33 Posted by psyche101 7 years ago
Yes, what we need is another useless animal organisation that is hypocritical, and we need more nude women on the Internet. There are hardly any.  
Comment icon #34 Posted by Glockornothing 7 years ago
Will the synthetic animals taste as good as the non-synthetic one's?
Comment icon #35 Posted by Trihalo42 7 years ago
So it's like the Lysine contingency in Jurassic Park?
Comment icon #36 Posted by third_eye 7 years ago
Considering the times and age perhaps it would be advisable to reconsider it as Ethical Treatment of Synthetic Sentients ...   P.E.T.S.S. ~
Comment icon #37 Posted by Calibeliever 7 years ago
Been here a couple of years for work. Grew up in Hawaii and the west coast and my family is from the PNW. Have lived in many other states in the last 20 years. Texas is just the latest stop. I actually love the Ft Worth area, the people here are great but the summers are brutal  
Comment icon #38 Posted by Parsec 7 years ago
Synthetic nude women?  Or only their prominent parts?  I guess those have gone synthetic a long time ago.  And why no one ever complains about it? That's strange! 

Please Login or Register to post a comment.

Our new book is out now!

The Unexplained Mysteries
Book of Weird News


Take a walk on the weird side with this compilation of some of the weirdest stories ever to grace the pages of a newspaper.

Click here to learn more

We need your help!

Support us on Patreon


For less than the cost of a cup of coffee, you can gain access to a wide range of exclusive perks including our popular 'Lost Ghost Stories' series.

Click here to learn more

 Total Posts: 7,506,145    Topics: 310,770    Members: 200,740

 Not a member yet ? Click here to join - registration is free and only takes a moment!
Recent news and articles