As you read this article from the Washington Post, ask yourself how far such research would get without enzymes and a host of other materials “borrowed” from existing life-forms. “From scratch” properly should mean “made only with chemicals available in a realistic prebiotic environment.” That’s not what we’re dealing with here. And even if we were getting back to chemicals available in a realistic prebiotic environment, could the same be said for the investigator inteference of Craig Venter and his colleagues? Wouldn’t it be safer to say that they are acting as intelligent designers and not as mere accelerators of existing blind evolutionary processes?
Synthetic DNA on the Brink of Yielding New Life Forms
By Rick Weiss | Washington Post Staff Writer | Monday, December 17, 2007; A01
It has been 50 years since scientists first created DNA in a test tube, stitching ordinary chemical ingredients together to make life’s most extraordinary molecule. Until recently, however, even the most sophisticated laboratories could make only small snippets of DNA — an extra gene or two to be inserted into corn plants, for example, to help the plants ward off insects or tolerate drought.
Now researchers are poised to cross a dramatic barrier: the creation of life forms driven by completely artificial DNA.
Scientists in Maryland have already built the world’s first entirely handcrafted chromosome — a large looping strand of DNA made from scratch in a laboratory, containing all the instructions a microbe needs to live and reproduce.