X-Message-Number: 13165
From: "George Smith" <>
References: <>
Subject: Artifical DNA announced.
Date: Sun, 30 Jan 2000 16:43:23 -0800

Combine the following news with the successful efforts of German scientists
to construct simple machines from DNA itself, and I think the case for
nanotech success becomes stronger.


First Artificial DNA Can Create New Forms Of Life

Reference: Sunday Times

Jonathan Leake and Roger Dobson

Scientists have made the world's first synthetic DNA - the molecules that
form the blueprint for life. The breakthrough means that the first
artificial organisms could be "born" within two years and raises the
prospect of humans redesigning whole species, including themselves.

The DNA was created at the University of Texas where researchers have mapped
out the exact way it will be configured to create synthetic organism one
(SO1), the microbe destined to be the world's first man-made creature. "We
are synthesising DNA to create the first synthetic organism," said Professor
Glen Evans, director of the university's genome science and technology
centre. "SO1 will have no specific function but once it is alive we can
customise it. We can go back to the computer and change a gene and create
other new life forms by simply pressing a button."

The researchers are planning to create a series of designer bugs, with
super-efficient mechanisms for infecting target tissues such as cancer
tumours - and then killing them. Some would infect the human gut to produce
vitamin C. Critics, however, have warned that the scientists risk unleashing
a microbe master race with increased powers to infect humans and wildlife.

The researchers' success lies in having found a way to create long chains of
DNA. Such chains are made up of four types of molecule which join up in
twosomes known as "base pairs". The base pairs then link to form a ladder
that twists into the famous DNA double helix. In nature, one chain of DNA
can contain hundreds of thousands of base pairs. Until now, however,
scientists have found it impossible to join together more than 100. Evans's
team has broken this barrier with a technique that first creates short
chains of DNA and then joins them together in a controllable way.


the balance of the article can be found at:

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