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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Closer to Artificial Life

Researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Maryland have built the first synthetic genome (of one of the tiniest bacteria, Mycoplasma genitalium). Though it's an important step and a remarkable scientific feat, it's not quite artificial life: The scientists have yet to insert the genes into a cell and then reboot it into a new, living, artificial organism. The work is published in the online version of the journal Science. —Heather Wax