« Previous | Main | Next »

On air: Do you welcome the creation of artificial life?

Claudia Bradshaw Claudia Bradshaw | 10:57 UK time, Friday, 21 May 2010

Life.jpg

Scientists in the US have developed the first artificial living cell

Dr Craig Venter and his team created their own synthetic "genetic software" and put it into host bacteria cells. The cells then changed to look and behave like the species that was transplanted into them. As Dr Venter told the BBC

As soon as this new software goes into the cell, the cell reads it and converts into the species specified in that genetic code.

Some are are celebrating this as a defining moment in human history that could produce new bacteria to clean up pollution or produce energy as well develop new vaccines and drugs.

But others worry this knowledge could be used by terrorists. David Magnus, Director of the Center for Bioethics at Stanford Medical Center says:

This kind of biology makes it possible, in the wrong hands, to create deadly pathogens, and in the future it will call for strong regulations"

And some fear scientists are playing 'god'.

Jon thinks:

some scientists believe they should be allowed to pursue scientific pursuits simply because they can. It is an ultimate means to power.

and responding to him sannekurz says:

I simply fear the unpredicted and most of all the non-predictable.
See what happened in the past when mankind introduced clever ideas to untouched areas such as the cain-toad to Australia... How can we create life on this planet when we do not even fully understand this very bit of rock we are living on?

What do you think?

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.