Thursday, May 27, 2010

Debating Synthia, a genetically engineered life form [The first synthetic life form has made relatively little news due to very pressing news items such as in Korea, Iraq and the Gulf of Mexico. but this one's a biggie:] Debating Synthia, a genetically engineered life form "Human folly has shown that naturally occurring invasive species introduced into the wrong environment can spread quickly. From killer bees in California and cane toads in Australia to zebra mussels in the Great Lakes and rabbits in Canmore, alien species can cause native populations to collapse, or at least eat all the plants in your garden.

"Imagine what a genetically engineered synthetic life form might do. Unleashed in the Gulf of Mexico to gobble up an oil spill, could lab-grown microbes take over the oceans, killing all forms of life? We hate to be the authors of a bad B-movie, but geneticist Craig Venter's newly created synthetic life, nicknamed Synthia, seems a bit like The Attack of the Franken Cell.

"We're not dismissing the potential good that can come from the scientific marvel that Venter has cooked up at his lab in Maryland. But as Ottawa genetic watchdog Pat Mooney notes, the arrival of Venter's synthetic microbes "should be a wake-up call that a technological step-change of historic and alarming proportions has now occurred."



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not that farfetched. Came very close to happening with a genetically engineered pesticide before they discovered that it killed much more than weeds.

3:05 AM  

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