Scientists in the US have succeeded in developing the first synthetic living cell. The researchers constructed a bacterium's "genetic software" and transplanted it into a host cell. The resulting microbe then looked and behaved like the species "dictated" by the synthetic DNA. The advance, published in Science, has been hailed as a scientific landmark, but critics say there are dangers posed by synthetic organisms. The researchers hope eventually to design bacterial cells that will produce medicines and fuels and even absorb greenhouse gases.
The 'synthetic' aspect and the rest of the article makes it seems like they can control the properties of the cell. Since the dangers mentioned in the article are easy to enumerate, I wonder what the scientific community can do to escape paranoid legislation.
In addition to the ethical dilemma associated with this development, the philosophical ramifications are just as significant. Also, which existing religious frameworks accommodate something approaching 'creation of life'? Or is this to religion what synthesis of urea did for chemistry?
P.S. Is it just a coincidence that this came about as soon as Jack took the job? *cough*God complex*cough*
MSDOS is not dead, it just smells that way. -- Henry Spencer