Synthetic Cell Division

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I rarely, if ever, comment or add to any of these science or tech articles, but I have to say – this one worries me. Yes, it’s absolutely fascinating, but it’s sci-fi creepy. This seems to me to be the epitome of just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
Researchers have created a synthetic single-celled organism (not pictured) that can divide properly
Researchers have created a synthetic single-celled organism (not pictured) that can divide properly

For the first time, a team of scientists has created a synthetic single-celled organism that can divide and grow like a regular living cell. This breakthrough could lead to designer cells that can produce useful chemicals on demand or treat disease from inside the body.

This new study, by scientists from the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and MIT, builds on over a decade’s work in creating synthetic lifeforms. In 2010 a JCVI team created the world’s first cell with a synthetic genome, which they dubbed JCVI-syn1.0.

In 2016, the researchers followed that up with JCVI-syn3.0, a version where the goal was to make the organism as simple as possible. With only 473 genes, it was the simplest living cell ever known – by comparison, an E. coli bacterium has well over 4,000 genes. But perhaps it was too simple, because the cells weren’t all that effective at dividing. Rather than uniform shapes and sizes, some of them would form filaments and others wouldn’t fully separate.

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About the Common Constitutionalist

Brent, aka The Common Constitutionalist, is a Constitutional Conservative, and advocates for first principles, founders original intent and enemy of progressives. He is former Navy, Martial Arts expert. As well as publisher of the Common Constitutionalist blog, he also is a contributing writer for Political Outcast, Godfather Politics, Minute Men News (Liberty Alliance), Freedom Outpost, the Daily Caller, Vision To America and Free Republic. He also writes an exclusive weekly column for World Net Daily (WND).