Our ability to read DNA sequence has undergone monumental advances in recent decades. However, our ability to write genetic code and engineer life is rudimentary in comparison. A long standing goal in the new field of synthetic biology is creating a free living microbial cell by designing and activating a synthetic genome. This article reviews recent advances in the field, with a particular focus on chemical synthesis of the genome of the bacterium Mycoplasma genitalium. There has not yet been activation of a synthetic genome to express the organism it encodes, but this will be accomplished in time. The scientific and non-scientific implications of doing so are considered in this article.
Holt RA. Synthetic genomes brought closer to life. Nature Biotechnology. 2008 March; 26(3):296-297.
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