Creating first synthetic life form

December 21, 2005 | Source: Globe and Mail

Work on the world’s first human-made species is well under way at the Genome Science Centre at the University of British Columbia to play a key role in the production of the first synthetic life form — a microbe made from scratch.

The controversial project is being spearheaded by U.S. scientist Craig Venter.

One option for sparking life in a lab-made genome is to transplant the synthetic DNA into the shell of an existing microbe. The Vancouver group is researching the use of high-voltage electricity to essentially zap open a host bacteria and slowly infuse it with small pieces of new DNA.