I am creating artificial life, declares US gene pioneer

Craig Venter, the controversial DNA researcher involved in the race to
decipher the human genetic code, has built a synthetic chromosome out
of laboratory chemicals and is poised to announce the creation of the
first new artificial life form on Earth.

The announcement, which is expected within weeks and could come as
early as Monday at the annual meeting of his scientific institute in
San Diego, California, will herald a giant leap forward in the
development of designer genomes. It is certain to provoke heated debate
about the ethics of creating new species and could unlock the door to
new energy sources and techniques to combat global warming.

Mr Venter told the Guardian he thought this landmark would be "a very
important philosophical step in the history of our species. We are
going from reading our genetic code to the ability to write it. That
gives us the hypothetical ability to do things never contemplated


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