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Synthetic life
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The public wants a say in how research in to the manufacture of synthetic life is conducted, according to a report.
The Synthetic Biology Public Dialogue was commissioned by the two UK research councils responsible for funding what has been dubbed "synthetic biology".

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RE: Synthia
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Scientists in the US have succeeded in developing the first synthetic living cell.
The researchers constructed a bacterium's "genetic software" and transplanted it into a host cell.
The resulting microbe then looked and behaved like the species "dictated" by the synthetic DNA.
The advance, published in Science, has been hailed as a scientific landmark, but critics say there are dangers posed by synthetic organisms.

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I have seen the future, and it is now.
Those words came to mind again as I recently listened to Craig Venter, one of those leading the new areas of synthetic genomics and synthetic biology. Every time I hear a talk on this subject, it seems a new threshold in the artificial manipulation and, ultimately, creation of life has been passed.

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A step closer to 'synthetic life'
In what has been described as a step towards the creation of a synthetic cell, scientists have created a new "engineered" strain of bacteria.
A team successfully transferred the genome of one type of bacteria into a yeast cell, modified it, and then transplanted into another bacterium.
This paves the way to the creation of a synthetic organism - inserting a human-made genome into a bacterial cell.
The team describe the work in the journal Science.

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Synthetic biology
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Harvard Medical School researchers have successfully synthesised a DNA-based memory loop in yeast cells, findings that mark a significant step forward in the emerging field of synthetic biology.
After constructing genes from random bits of DNA, researchers in the lab of Professor Pamela Silver, a faculty member in Harvard Medical School's Department of Systems Biology, not only reconstructed the dynamics of memory, but also created a mathematical model that predicted how such a memory `device` might work.
Synthetic biology is an incredibly exciting field, with more possibilities than many of us can imagine, says Silver, lead author of the paper to be published in the September 15 issue of the journal Genes and Development.  While this proof-of-concept experiment is simply one step forward, we've established a foundational technology that just might set the standard of what we should expect in subsequent work.  

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Synthia
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Scientists working to build a life form from scratch have applied to patent the broad method they plan to use to create their "synthetic organism".

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J. Craig Venter Institute Seeks Monopoly Patents on the World's First-Ever Human-Made Life Form
ETC Group Will Challenge Patents on "Synthia" - Original Syn Organism Created in Laboratory
Ten years after Dolly the cloned sheep made her stunning debut, the J. Craig Venter Institute is applying for a patent on a new biological bombshell - the world's first-ever human-made species. The novel bacterium is made entirely with synthetic DNA in the laboratory.
The Venter Institute - named for its founder and CEO, J. Craig Venter, the scientist who led the private sector race to map the Human Genome - is applying for worldwide patents on what they refer to as "Mycoplasma laboratorium." In the tradition of 'Dolly,' ETC has nicknamed this synthetic organism (or 'syn') 'Synthia.'

"Synthia may not be as cuddly as a cloned lamb, but we believe this is a much bigger deal. These monopoly claims signal the start of a high-stakes commercial race to synthesize and privatise synthetic life forms. Will Venter's company become the 'Microbesoft' of synthetic biology?" - Jim Thomas, ETC Group, a civil society organisation that is calling on the world's patent offices to reject the applications.

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