Thursday, March 12, 2009
In what’s being described as one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs of all time, laboratories across the world are closing in on a “second genesis” — the creation of true, artificial intelligence.
Prof David Deamer, from California University, said although building a new lifeform from scratch is a daunting task he is confident it can happen in five to 10 years.
A synthetic, made-to-order living system could produce everything from new drugs to biofuels and greenhouse gas absorbers.
The finishing line could be in sight after geneticists Professor George Church and Dr Michael Jewett, of Harvard Medical School, told a synthetic biology conference in Hong Kong that they had synthetically created part of a cell, called a ribosome.
The breakthrough offers hope that they could create an entire cell; something Prof Church believes would be a relatively minor challenge.