« Can Dancing Improve your Ability to Remember? | Main | Texarkana and the Affordable Care Act »

The Power of (Re)-Creation and "Playing God"

As reported in Scientific American last week, undergraduates at John Hopkins University have officially synthesized a yeast chromosome from scratch. According to David Biello, these students synthesized the 272,871 base pairs that make up the essential coding region of the yeast chromosome responsible for sexual reproduction, chromosome 3. The cells that the students grew with the synthetic chromosome appear to be “[thriving] just as well as regular yeast,” at least “in terms of size and growth.”

While David Biello makes a point of elucidating that this is not the first chromosome to be generated from scratch, as a bacterium’s genome was reconstructed by the J. Craig Venter Institute in 2010, it is the first Eukaryotic chromosome to be artificially synthesized.

This achievement should bring to the forefront of ethical debate the considerations regarding the scientific power of creation and “playing god.” Depending on which side of the fence you stand on, this development can either be frightening, or exciting. After all, for the first time in history, scientists have artificially recreated the genetic code in a living eukaryote. How long will it be before we start writing our own variations of genomes? 

~Jack Kent, Summer Research Intern

To read more, please go to the original article as written by David Biello at http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/students-build-the-first-eukaryotic-chromosome-from-scratch/

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>