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Scientists have created a living organism whose DNA is entirely human-made — perhaps a new form of life, experts said, and a milestone in the field of synthetic biology by researchers at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, who reported on Wednesday that they had rewritten the DNA of the bacteria Escherichia coli, producing a synthetic genome four times larger and far more complex than any previously created.“The achievement one day may lead to organisms that produce novel medicines or other valuable molecules, as living factories,” writes Carl Zimmer in Matter for the New York Times. “These synthetic bacteria also may offer clues as to how the genetic code arose in the early history of life.”

“It’s a landmark,” said Tom Ellis, director of the Center for Synthetic Biology at Imperial College London, who was not involved in the new study. “No one’s done anything like it in terms of size or in terms of number of changes before.”

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Category: Science