Biologist Dr Craig Venter creates artificial life,' but the breakthrough is raising both hopes and concerns...
A maverick scientist has created ‘artificial life’ for the first time in a breakthrough some believe is as significant as splitting the atom.
Biologist Dr Craig Venter produced man-made bacteria which could not have existed before, by writing a genetic sequence from scratch.
However, his critics said he was playing God and raised the possibility of his technology giving rise to the ‘most powerful bioweapons imaginable‘.
Oxford University‘s Prof Julian Savulescu said: ‘Venter is creaking open the most profound door in humanity’s history, potentially peeking into its destiny. At the moment, it is basic bacteria just capable of replicating. This is a step towards something much more controversial – the creation of living beings with capacities and natures that could never have naturally evolved.’
Benefits could include the creation of cheap drugs, biofuels, biotissue and even new organisms to absorb CO2 and help repair damage to the environment.
Do you think that Dr Venter is ‘playing God’? Do you think it is wrong for scientists to design new life? Are you worried about the potential for misuse of this kind of radical research?
Let us know your thoughts below by joining this controversial debate…