Scientists Created Living Organisms With Synthetic DNA – Have We Gone To Far?

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Scientists discover a new way to synthesize organisms hinting at the possibility of new lifeforms in the near future:

Scientists at the Scripps Research Center in California have found new ways to change the genetic structure of e-coli microbes allowing them to potentially program the microbes in the future to produce new synthetic compounds that are currently not available with the technology we currently possess.

All organisms are made up of the same 4 genetic bases – Adenine, Thymine, Guanine and Cytosine ( A, T, C, G) – and all species are results of different orders and sequences of these 4 bases. Floyd Romesberg and his team of genetic biologists in California have found a way of splicing the DNA and inserting two new synthetic bases, named X and Y, into the DNA sequence without destabilizing the structure or the organism. These two new bases act as an entry point and absorb synthetic material that they introduce to the microbe to get it to synthesize specific proteins.

However, this is not the first time the four genetic bases have been expanded upon. In 2014 Romesberg first added his X and Y bases into microbes but he found they either quickly died or failed to pass oxn their new genetic information resulting in new generations not having the synthetic bases but instead the 4 natural bases. Over the past two years, Romesberg and his team have worked on techniques to make their microbes more resistant to change while still being able to pass on their new bases, resulting in success earlier this year.

At the moment the two new bases do nothing of purpose within the microbes. However, shortly new genetic information will be introduced to them meaning humans can create proteins never seen before in our history. While this is by no means natural evolution, it is evolution by definition. Only time will tell if these genetic breakthroughs will cure currently incurable diseases, or whether Jurassic Park may become a reality.

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