Home About us MoEF Contact us Sitemap Tamil Website  
About Envis
Whats New
Research on Microbes
Microbiology Experts
Online Submission
Access Statistics

Site Visitors

blog tracking

Scientist set to make Synthetic microbe


A scientist is poised to create the world's first man-made species, a synthetic microbe that could lead to an endless supply of biofuel

Craig Venter, an American who cracked the human genome in 2000, has applied for a patent at more than 100 national offices to make a bacterium from laboratory-made DNA.

It is part of an effort to create designer bugs to manufacture hydrogen and biofuels, as well as absorb carbon dioxide and other harmful greenhouse gasses.

DNA contains the instructions to make the proteins that build and run and organism.The J Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland, is applying for worldwide patents on what it refers to as "Mycoplasma laboratorium "based on DNA assembled by scientists. Venter said: "it is only an application on methods". As for whether the world's first synthetic bug was thriving in a test tube in Rockville, all he would say was: "We are getting close".

The Venter Institute's US Patent application Claims exclusive ownership of a set of essential genes and a synthetic "free-living organisms that can grow that replicate" that is made using those genes.To create the synthetic organism his team is making snippets of DNA, known as oligonucleotides or "oligos", of up to 100 letters of DNA.

The Candian ETC Group, which tracks developments in biotechnology, believes that this development in synthetic biology is more significant than the cloning of Dolly the sheep a decade ago.On Wednesday, and ETC spokes man, Jim Thomas, called on the world's patent offices to reject the applications.

He said: "These monopoly claims signal the start of high stakes commercial race to synthesise and privatise synthetic life forms. Will Venter's company become the 'Microbesoft' of synthetic biology?"A colleague, Pat Mooney, said: "For the first time, God has competition, Venter and his colleagues have breached a societal boundary, and the public hasn't even had a chance to debate the far-reaching social, ethical and environmental implications of synthetic life.
SOURCE: Newspaper 'Sunday Star' 10 June, 2007
Copyright © 2005 ENVIS Centre ! All rights reserved
This site is optimized for 1024 x 768 screen resolution