'Artificial life' breakthrough announced by scientists
Added under Technology
Scientists in the US have succeeded in developing the first living cell to be controlled entirely by synthetic DNA.
The researchers constructed a bacterium's "genetic software" and transplanted it into a host cell.
The resulting microbe then looked and behaved like the species "dictated" by the synthetic DNA.
The advance, published in Science, has been hailed as a scientific landmark, but critics say there are dangers posed by synthetic organisms.
Some also suggest that the potential benefits of the technology have been over-stated.
But the researchers hope eventually to design bacterial cells that will produce medicines and fuels and even absorb greenhouse gases.
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