Scientists Create ‘Synthetic Cell’
Posted on May 20, 2010
A team of U.S. scientists has created what they’re calling a “synthetic cell,” although really it appears to be more of a Franken-cell, if you will, since the cell’s genome is artificial but the “recipient cell” is not. All the same, it’s still bound to freak some people out. —KA
Dr [J. Craig] Venter likened the advance to making new software for the cell.
The researchers copied an existing bacterial genome. They sequenced its genetic code and then used “synthesis machines” to chemically construct a copy.
Dr Venter told BBC News: “We’ve now been able to take our synthetic chromosome and transplant it into a recipient cell—a different organism.
“As soon as this new software goes into the cell, the cell reads [it] and converts into the species specified in that genetic code.”
Wikimedia Commons / André Luís Carvalho; Leandro Maranghetti Lourenço
A stereoscopic microscope such as this one may or may not have been used in the synthetic cell project, but hey, doesn’t it look all scientific-like?