Archive for May 21st, 2010

The First Synthetic Cell

WIFE sent me this article this morning, and let me just say that I’m scared. Here’s the link if anyone wants to read it in its entirety.

“An American biologist has stepped into the shoes of Baron Frankenstein by breathing life into a bacterium using genes assembled in the laboratory.

The creation of the “synthetic cell”, described as a “landmark” by one British expert, is a 15-year dream come true for maverick genetics entrepreneur Dr Craig Venter.

It has major implications for genomics, including the manufacture of artificial organisms designed for specific tasks such as making vaccines or cleaning up pollution.

But experts recognise that as Mary Shelley demonstrated in her famous novel, there are potential dangers too. Synthetic life could, for instance, pave the way to terrifying biological weapons.”

The first thing that came to mind when I read this was biological and chemical warfare. Think about the ability to mass-produce anthrax by manipulating the genetic structure of flour, or even to create nuclear energy without having to use radiation. This could potentially have positive effects, like being able to genetically change cancer cells, but where there is good, someone is sure to use this for evil.

Most importantly, I feel like this is tinkering with God’s design. God created all cells with a unique purpose (yes, even cancer cells), and the ability to effectively change the purpose for this design is like spitting in the face of God to me. Science, while great in many respects, can be deadly–see atomic bomb–and is continuously searching for ways to phase God out of the equation. What do you all think?