Friday, May 21, 2010

Craig Venter creates synthetic life form

There are stories about this everywhere. But one quote from wired sticks out

“Over the last five years the field has seen a 100-fold increase in the length of genetic material wholly constructed from raw chemicals,” said synthetic biologist Drew Endy of Stanford University. “This is over six doublings in the max length of a genome that can be constructed.”

Doubling in abilities in less than a year is amazing. Pretty much any exponential improvement like that ends up being a big deal if it carries on for a reasonable length of time. This is 1 million base pairs of synthetic DNA. A human is 3 billion base pairs. So at this growth rate that is less than 12 years. Not that you would artificially create a human or anything but it gives you some impression of how rapidly this technology could develop.

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