Patent sought on 'synthetic life'
Scientists working to build a life form from scratch have applied to patent the broad method they plan to use to create their "synthetic organism".
Craig Venter has been working for years on a man-made organism.
Dr Craig Venter, the man who led the private sector effort to sequence the human genome, has been working for years to create a man-made organism.
But constructing a primitive microbe from a kit of genes is a daunting task.
Dr Venter says, eventually, these life forms could be designed to make biofuels and absorb greenhouse gases.
The publication of the patent application has angered some environmentalists.
The Canada-based ETC group, which monitors developments in biotechnology, called on patent offices to reject applications on synthetic life forms.
The J Craig Venter Institute's US patent application claims exclusive ownership of a set of essential genes and a synthetic "free-living organism that can grow and replicate" made using those genes.
It has also filed an international application at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) which names more than 100 countries where the institute may seek monopoly patents.
Dr Venter's team intends to construct an organism with a "minimal genome" that can then be inserted into the shell of a bacterium.
By removing genes, one by one, from a bacterium called Mycoplasma genitalium they identified the minimum number of genes required for this particular organism to replicate, or reproduce, in its controlled environment.
They have been able to remove 101 of its 482 genes without killing the bacterium, meaning that 381 were required for replication.
But generating a man-made living organism from the bottom up requires much more than just its minimal genome.
For example, in order to get the genes to do something, there have to be chemicals to translate the genes into messenger RNA and proteins.
Scientists around the world have been wrestling with the task of generating a so-called free-living synthetic organism for years.
The ETC Group says it will be writing to Dr Venter asking him to withdraw his institute's patent applications.
"We don't want to engage in a long-term legal strategy to slap down bad patents. These patents must be struck down before they're issued," said Hope Shand, a spokesperson for the group.
Jim Thomas, of ETC Group, added: "These monopoly claims signal the start of a high-stakes commercial race to synthesise and privatise synthetic life forms."
It said the company was pressing ahead with its work despite the fact the public had not had the chance to debate the "far-reaching social, ethical and environmental implications".
Dr Venter maintains that artificial life forms could produce solutions to global problems such as green sources of fuel and climate change.
The effort could result in "designer microbes" that produce biofuels such as ethanol, and hydrogen.
They could also be engineered to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
Dr Venter first announced that scientists were working on creating synthetic life forms at a conference in California in 1999.
Article from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6733797.stm
DNA - Pirates of the Sacred Spiral - Dr Horowitz (Video)
I’ve found God, says man who cracked the genome
The discovery of DNA variability, holographic blueprints and the symphony of life
Team develops DNA switch to interface living organisms with computers
Deep DNA memory theories: Can we remember our ancestors’ lives?
Latest News from our Front Page
School Textbook: “There’s No Such Thing as Reverse Racism” Only White People can be Racist
Only white people can be racist.
A school textbook teaches students that “there is no such thing as reverse racism” and that women can never be as sexist as men.
The passage, which appears to be taken from a “multicultural education series” book entitled Is Everyone Equal, states, “STOP: There is no such thing as reverse racism or reverse sexism (or the ...
Americans to Receive Full Biometric Treatment for all Forms of European Travel
Travel becomes truly ominous...
In a trend that isn't wholly surprising, EU Observer reports:
US citizens and other non-EU nationals who enter Europe will be asked to have their faces image-captured and fingerprints scanned upon arrival at a half-dozen major airports. [emphasis added]
This "biometric dragnet" is the pilot test for the EU's new "smart borders" packages. The test ...
Breaking: Google gives new meaning to “Orwellian”
Becomes Ministry of Truth
“…if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth.” (1984, George Orwell)
The New Scientist has the stunning story (2/28/15, “Google wants to rank websites based on facts not links,” by Hal Hodson):
“THE internet is stuffed with garbage. Anti-vaccination websites make the front page of Google, and fact-free ‘news’ stories ...
Boris Nemtsov, Putin Foe, Is Shot Dead in Shadow of Kremlin - A Staged Shooting?
NY Times: Boris Nemtsov, Putin Foe, Is Shot Dead in Shadow of Kremlin
Mr. Nemtsov, a former first deputy prime minister of Russia, was killed in central Moscow in the highest-profile assassination in Russia during the tenure of President Vladimir V. Putin.
A Staged Shooting?
Why does the dead body of fitness enthusiast Boris Nemtsov have a pot belly?
The Anti-New York Times doesn't ...
Spielberg's Hoax - The Last Days of The Big Lie
Editor's Note: This is an absolutely SHOCKING video. How this has gone largely unchallenged for such a long time, is a remarkable testimony to the trustworthiness of gullible but good-hearted people. Watch it all the way to the end and learn something new about the remarkable lies and falsehood in our world.
If the video is blocked in your country, see ...
|More News » |