U.S. scientist have succeeded in creating the first artificial life form.
They've used laboratory chemicals to create synthetic DNA modeled on that of a simple bacteria, modified it, and inserted it into an existing cell. The lab-created genome took it from there, and the new organism is happily replicating itself.
The hope is that organisms can be engineered to produce new fuels, clean up oil spills, produce vaccines faster, and eventually even to interface with computers. (Apparently, these guys missed the whole Matrix trilogy. I'd hold off on that one.)
This is being hailed as the dawn of a new industrial revolution by some and the Beginning of the End by others. Amazing and promising as it is, even Craig Venter, the head of the team, allows there are safety issues and potential for abuse. (Ya think?)
Read all about it at the BBC World Service and at Science.
What's your take on it? I'd be interested to hear your opinions.