Craig creates life

John Craig Venter, founder of the The Institute for Genomic Research and the J. Craig Venter Institute, has, at last, achieved what he has been trying to do for over a decade – create artificial life.

enjoy :smiley:

If this stands up to peer review and can be replicated, then wow! Just wow. The comments address the question of whether the heading overstates the case – and it seems that it doesn’t.



Is this an example of:

  1. Design
  2. Evolution
  3. Intelligent design
  4. Intelligent evolution
  5. Font-loaded evolution
  6. Intelligently designed evolution

Can’t be 1, 3, 4 or 6 can it? Intelligently designed life is not even a theory, it is pseudoscience :P.

Look like Venter’s group is dabbling in bit of induced/front-loaded evolution. You know, making use of natural selection to design optimal organisms…

With these tools incredible achievements may one day be possible. We may be able to take individual genes and tailor-make bacteria as a starting point for [b]induced evolution[/b] to produce the perfect fermenter for biofuels, or the perfect cleaner to break down or isolate oil or other toxins from the environment. In short, it's a brave new world now that the ability to biochemically create new life is in the hands of man.

Also, from the update:

Update: Monday Oct. 26, 2009 2:40 p.m.: There has been some question over what exactly comprises "artificial life". In this case the researchers have created an organism with new genes inserted, and are claiming the organism to be a new artificial species (which notably they are trying to patent). The grounds for calling the organism synthetic or artificial is that it was produced from non-living material, in this case a cloned genome which was non-living when removed from the yeast cell that produced it (i.e. it would be nonviable if not carefully prepped and implanted by the researchers). This genome was created in vivo with enzymes that could, in theory, also be used in vitro. Some, however, define synthetic/artificial life as being artificial intelligence, non-carbon based life, or life resulting from non-enzymatic production reactions. This discovery does not meet these criteria. Thus while the discovery can be billed as "artificial or "synthetic" life, it is important not to take it out of context.

I guess if you are a materialist you can say this is not design as it is an illusion and just an ongoing, impersonal competition among genes and memes. In other words, this is just crap that happens…

It is a remarkable piece of molecular biology. But the heading did make me half expect that methane, ammonia and electric arcs would play a more prominent role in the method.

If this stands up to peer review and can be replicated
Does that also hold for patented procedures? ;D ;)


i am not a scientist, and half the things discussed in that article are completely beyond me… :-[ what i am interested to know, though, is how come i have not heard anything about this before? does it take a skeptics forum to tell the world about these advancements in science?

In short, it's a brave new world now that the ability to biochemically create new life is in the hands of man


Well, he has been trying since 2007, with some success in 2007-2008 with his Synthetic Mycoplasma genitalium JCVI-1.0. Are you looking for a conspiracy theory? Those nasty authorities withholding information about intelligently designed organisms :P…?

haha, no i suppose i am just admitting my own ignorance in the matter. which is of course something i shall endeavour to rectify immediately :wink:

Perhaps surprisingly, yes, it often does because a patent in itself is not a seal of approval. One can patent just about anything provided that it meets certain basic criteria among which originality is the biggie. Remember that a patent merely affords some protection in preventing unlicensed use of certain intellectual property (IP), usually with a view to recouping some income for the effort that went into establishing the IP in the first instance. A patent is certainly not a guarantee that the patented idea actually works. While the USPTO requires some rudimentary proof-of-concept demonstration before granting a patent, many other patent offices around the globe do not. Moreover, a patent normally has an expiry date and if the original holder (or a designated proxy thereof) does not renew it, the IP automatically becomes public domain.