Anyone Can Become a Genetic Engineer, and the Possibilities for New Life Forms are Endless

The first thing to understand about the new science of synthetic biology is that it’s not really a new science; it’s a brazen call to conduct an existing one much more ambitiously. For almost 40 years, genetic engineers have been decoding DNA and transplanting individual genes from one organism into another. (One company, for example, famously experimented with putting a gene from an arctic flounder into tomatoes to make a variety of frost-resistant tomatoes.) But synthetic biologists want to break out of this cut-and-paste paradigm altogether. They want to write brand-new genetic code, pulling together specific genes or portions of genes plucked from a wide range of organisms — or even constructed from scratch in a lab — and methodically lacing them into a single set of genetic instructions. Implant that new code into an organism, and you should be able to make its cells do and produce things that nothing in nature has ever done or produced before.

Full article on do-it-yourself genetic engineering.

Comments (2)

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  1. Tom H. says:

    We are going to create a whole generation of Frankensteins.

  2. Bruce says:

    It’s rather amazing that the federal government isn’t trying to regulate all this.