Life at the Speed of Light | Science News


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Life at the Speed of Light

From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life by J. Craig Venter

10:20am, January 16, 2014

Biology has come a long way from the days of mixing things in petri dishes and hoping something interesting happens. In his new book, Venter introduces readers to a future of precise biological engineering, guided by DNA and targeted to create life forms never before thought possible.

Venter has the scientific chops to back up these claims. His first book related the story of how he led a private effort that raced a government-funded consortium to decipher the DNA sequence that makes up the human genome. His second book focuses on a later lab triumph: the creation of Synthia, the first life-form with a synthesized genome.

Synthia, announced in 2010, is a bacterial mash-up. Venter’s team stitched together a genetic code for one bacterial species from scratch, then inserted it into a second species and booted it up. The result was a

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