Craig Venter, the guy who paid to sequence the genome, is at it again. This time, a team of 20 scientists including a Nobel Laureate have created an artificial chromosome from first principles, using artificial chemicals. They intend to introduce this into the cell of a bacterium on whose genetic makeup the whole thing was based off. The cell will be taken over, and a new species will be created. Technically.
As a post script the article mentions that Venter’s lab is filing for a patent for the newly created life form. Patents never seemed like too good an idea to me. Patenting a life form seems downright ridiculous, and very dangerous.
Cool stuff, and I would cheer the Venter Lab on, if not for the patent, and the unbridled, bombastic script that issues from them, a sample of which follows:
“We are not afraid to take on things that are important just because they stimulate thinking,” he said. “We are dealing in big ideas. We are trying to create a new value system for life. When dealing at this scale, you can’t expect everybody to be happy.”