In synthetic life, the can is as important as the Coke | Science News

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In synthetic life, the can is as important as the Coke

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10:43am, June 4, 2010

A paper published online May 20 in Science touted the creation of the world’s first synthetic cell by researchers from the J. Craig Venter Institute who assembled a bacterial genome from scratch and used it to reprogram an existing organism (Page 5). The accomplishment is a major advance in the burgeoning field of synthetic biology, which tinkers with natural cells and organisms to answer basic research questions and solve environmental, medical and other problems. This rapidly expanding field brings with it significant ethical and practical issues. Glenn McGee of the Center for Practical Bioethics in Kansas City, Mo., and editor in chief of the American Journal of Bioethics recently talked with Laura Sanders about what the new accomplishment means — and what it doesn’t.  

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