God’s Been Replaced!

With this news, it appears that now we can do all the creating we want – no god needed.

After almost 15 years of work and $40 million, a team of scientists at the J. Craig Venter Institute says they have succeeded in creating the first living organism with a completely synthetic genome. This advance could be proof that genomes designed in a computer and assembled in a lab can function in a donor cell, eventually reproducing fully functional living creatures, that is, artificial life.

What strikes me about this is the fact that it can be done. Previously, it was thought that such a thing could only come from a Creator. Well, it looks like there’s another creator on the block. Move over Genesis, there’s another book to be written.

I wish I understood the science, though I get a good sense of what was done here.

To create the genomes, Gibson and his colleagues used yeast to glue together thousands of DNA snippets, each containing 1,080 base pairs, which they ordered from another lab. To assist in assembly, each section of DNA contained 80 base pairs at every end that instructed the yeast where to join the two strands.

Slowly, the DNA strands came together in runs of tens of thousands of base pairs, and then hundreds of thousands, until the yeast produced a complete 1,080,000-base-pair synthetic genome.

So, what good is it? It’s hard to say so early in the game, but

Synthetic bacteria have tantalized scientists for years with the promise of bacterial cultures with computer designed genomes producing custom enzymes, fuels and medications cheaply and efficiently.

I wonder how long it will before the religious wacko nuts come out of the woodwork claiming that we shouldn’t be doing this, because we’re not gods, and this type of creation is solely within the province of their Lord.  That’s one of the arguments they use to stop science in the area of stem cell research. The irony is that the mere fact that it can and has been done, takes some of the mystery out of his Lordship’s monopoly on creation.

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9 thoughts on “God’s Been Replaced!

  1. Bu- but-

    Blogs are made by fools like me (and thee),
    but only god can make a tree.

    On a more positive note-

    Religious nuts can make up hell,
    but scientists can make a cell!

    • I loved it, Chappie! Kilmer might be doing triple flip-flops in his grave, but I loved it!

      By the way, SI, the header of the welcoming mantis makes me think that this is what an invitation to boink from Ann Coulter would be like, if she was sans the blond wig … very disturbing…I quite like it!

  2. Some of us have been saying for a long time that if God can do something, then science should be able to. It takes science a lot of trial and error of course. I’m only repeating something here that I said in “The Mystery of Life,” in the January archive. You can read what I think about the danger of this sort of science, in “the Warning” in the March archive.

  3. Prediction: When this story hits the TV news cycle, we’ll be hearing the word Frankenstein so much that we’ll all want to string up Mary Shelley.

    It’s alive. It’s alive!

  4. I’ve seen a couple of articles on this in the science lay literature (hardcore biology is not my forte). It is a phenomenal advance, but it is hardly “creating life.” Still, creating an artificial cell is closer to creating life than electrocuting Boris Karloff would be.

  5. I can tell you what my very smart Christian husband said. “They haven’t created life. They used living cells to do that.”

    The next day there was a headline saying, “Scientists say they DID NOT create life from scratch.”

    They started with yeast, and yeast are living organisms. On the bright side, I think they’re getting closer to creating life in a tube. But they aren’t quite there yet.

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