The Wall Street Journal reports:
Heralding a potential new era in biology, scientists for the first time have created a synthetic cell, completely controlled by man-made genetic instructions, researchers at the private J. Craig Venter Institute announced Thursday.
At around $40 million, this was no cheap experiment. Worth the money? Perhaps…
Several companies are already seeking to take advantage of the new field, called synthetic biology, which combines chemistry, computer science, molecular biology, genetics and cell biology to breed industrial life forms that can secrete fuels, vaccines or other commercial products.
But is it ethical? The article continues:
There was no immediate reaction from Roman Catholic and Protestant groups that have questioned such developments in the past. There was some support. “It is very much within divine mandate that we do these things,” said theologian Nancey Murphy, who studies Christianity and science at the Fuller Theological Seminary, a multidenominational Christian seminary in Pasadena, Calif.
Interesting point that Murphy makes. Some call it playing God, others obeying God’s mandate to rule over the earth. But bear in mind that scientists aren’t really created anything new: they are simply rearranging here and there, perhaps replacing ‘this’ with ‘that’. Any thoughts?
I think it is hard to tell. What does it mean “fully
synthetic” where did they start? Where did the cell they used come from, etc.
Personally, it’s more interesting than a problem.