Scientists Develop Synthetic Lifeform ! - Yeah that sounds bloody safe doesn't it?
The feat marks an historic, and controversial, milestone in the fledgling field known as synthetic biology. It uses chunks of synthetic DNA like Lego blocks, with an aim to creating life forms that can be genetically programmed to perform useful tasks.
Its proponents envision making micro-organisms that gobble up pollution, produce hard-to-make drugs, pump out clean energy, or, at the whimsical end, flowers designed to bloom on your birthday.
The field has raised profound ethical questions about human control of creation and its potential to produce new weapons of bio-terror. But the Venter project is also drawing criticisms of a different kind.
Bio-ethicists, and some scientists, allege the researchers have applied for such broad patents on their human-made genome that, if granted, they might give the group a monopoly on the making of all synthetic life forms – which some believe will fuel the next industrial revolution. (article continues ....)
Globe and Mail
January 24, 2008