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Creating life artificially - within 3 to 10 years

Prof. Doron Lantz from the Department of Molecular Genetics at the Weizmann Institute of Science: Israel must focus on the field, because it has a comparative advantage in the fields that touch it

All over the world dozens of scientists are working trying to create life from scratch and they are getting close to it. The experts expect to announce within three to ten years progress in the field of "artificial life in the test tube". Some also call this field synthetic biology - the goal of the researchers working in it is to build biochemical life that will look and act like a simple bacterium. The researchers involved in the field feel that creating a living creature is very close, relatively cheap and easier than other scientific projects currently in the headlines.

"It's going to be an important field and everyone will know about it," says Mark Badeau, director of the Protolife company in Venice, Italy, one of the participants in the race. "We are talking about technology that can change our world in a very fundamental way - in fact in ways that are hard to even predict."
The first synthetic cell that will be built from the same components that the body uses (such as DNA and protein) may not seem like something sensational to a non-scientist, partly because a microscope will be needed to observe it. But "artificial creation of precursor cells may shed light on our place in the universe " says Bedou. "This will remove one of the fundamental points of mystery about the creation of the universe and our part in it."
Some scientists believe that man-made living creatures could potentially be used to solve a variety of problems, from fighting diabetes to eliminating greenhouse gases and breaking down toxic waste.

Badou describes three challenges on the way to creating synthetic life:
• Creating a container, or a membrane for the cell, that will prevent harmful molecules from entering, and will allow the good ones to enter, and will also allow the cell to reproduce.
• A genetic system that will monitor the function of the cell, will allow it to divide and will allow it to undergo mutations in response to environmental changes
• A metabolism that will allow the absorption of raw materials from the environment such as food and turn them into energy.

One of the leaders in the field, Jack Shostak from the Harvard Medical School predicts that within the next six months, scientists will begin to report evidence that the first step - creating a membrane for the synthetic cell is not as big a problem as they thought, for this purpose the scientists use fatty acids - simple prods relatively. Shostak is also optimistic about the next step - using nucleotides - the important component of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), to build a functioning genetic system. In his estimation, once the container - the cell membrane - is built, if the scientists add nucleic acids to it in the appropriate ratio, Darwinian evolution will be able to appear.
"We're not sophisticated enough to plan things, we'll just let evolution do the hard work and then we'll find out what happened," Shostak said.
In Gainesville, Florida, Steve Benner, a biochemist at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution, is attacking the problem by deliberately deviating from the framework of natural genetics. Normal DNA molecules contain four bases - adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine (known for short as A, C, G, T) - molecules that make up the letters of the genetic code when they come in pairs. Banner is trying to add eight new bases to the genetic alphabet.
Bado says that there are indeed legitimate concerns about the creation of artificial life that could get out of control, but according to him there are good ways to prepare for this, and it will take a long time before such a danger could even arise.
"When these cells are formed they will be so weak, and it will be a great achievement to keep them alive for an extra hour in the laboratory" he said. "Therefore there is no fear that they will carry danger - this cannot happen even in the most developed imagination.

Prof. Doron Lantz from the Weizmann Institute of Science adds: "It is important that Israel enters the field of synthetic biology, which integrates well with innovative efforts such as nanobiology, in vitro drug evolution, research into the beginnings of life and more. A group of researchers at the Weizmann Institute recently joined the European Center for Life Technologies (ECLT) in which Prof. Bedou also participates, and thus a fruitful cooperation in the field was built."

Francis Collins, one of the leaders of the Human Genome Project believes, on the other hand, that there is no chance of creating life in a laboratory from scratch without cheating. In an interview with the Nova program of the public broadcasting network in the USA, in January 2007, he says that the idea is a form of simplifying life to its most basic component - "the idea that something that can be called alive can be assembled from basic building blocks - chemicals - assembled in a certain way. This puts us in a dilemma as to the question of what is the definition of life in this kind of experiment, why is it called success?"

"Living beings are required to be able to reproduce themselves - copying themselves into many copies. This would have to be stable over time and survive without the addition of other complex proteins or other large molecules that are not normally available to the cell as they spread around it in the atmosphere. You should have a certain type of medium in which the creature will live, some sugars and salts, but it would not be fair if we added cytochrome P450 to it.

On the same subject
Life began with a drop of fat (Weizmann Institute, year 2000)

10 תגובות

  1. For responders,
    1. Which principle in Judaism (XNUMX principles) contradicts the ability of a person to create a living creature from things that are themselves created, sealed, etc.
    2. The article talks about creating a life from scratch. Z.A. A desert without animals to create a thing with animals. Question: According to science, or its philosophy. Is the atom considered a living thing?

  2. The creation of life by humans can actually be a proof to creationists that the above mentioned bacteria were not created in the process of evolution but if they were created by a Creator - in this case man would be the God of these bacteria.
    Note that precisely the belief in Darwinism ultimately brings about creationism. There is a kind of contradiction here that I really don't know how to bridge!
    Sabdarmish Yehuda

  3. why new Regarding question 1. It is written in the Midrash that each and every person hates his own people.

  4. I would like to know:
    1. What is the opinion of the rabbis that the creator of the world will be additional creators
    How does this fit with the halacha that humans will create life?
    2. After many years when it is possible I will purchase an "extension to create
    Haim" How will we protect ourselves from terrorists who will create viruses?
    Will there be antivirus companies that will allow us to defend ourselves?
    That is to vaccinate ourselves?

  5. Regardless of God, the organisms may have arrived here from the depths of space carried inside comets!!
    And according to the article, we are still far from a state of creating cells.. Even after the first cloning, the scientists hid a lot of information and let us understand that the clones automatically start freely. In fact, more than twenty years have passed and the whole business is still stuck!!
    But if and when they succeed in creating cells it will prove that a lot of thinking and knowledge is needed to create the cells! Therefore, coincidence is out of the question and you would have to have a guiding hand that knows in advance where it will lead (to the creation of life) ..but this does not require the existence of any god as the religious people claim (a god who wants to be prayed to, etc.) opinion is that there are no coincidences in nature at all unless you were Nothing would have been created and the debate would not have taken place anyway!!
    For some reason the scientists often fall into the pit of coincidences because the public perceives the lack of coincidence as a divine reality.. This is the circle that draws a lot of unnecessary energy into it!
    I assume that in order to create the cells they will have to create special conditions and a suitable environment and then they will have to prove that there were such conditions in the past that made it possible to create the cells here... and who directed these conditions? It will continue to float on the surface!

  6. I wish it would happen!

    This would be a crushing blow to all delusional creationists.

    Or actually not, they'll probably say - it's true that we managed to create life, but it's not something that happened naturally... And so it supposedly proves that only God could create the first living cell...

    In short, don't argue with creationists, it will only give you a headache!

  7. The desire to build a living cell from inanimate components can be an incentive for basic research, this is not required to prove Darwinian evolution and there is no economic advantage in this compared to genetic engineering that would be done in an existing living cell such as a bacterium or fungus.
    Perhaps we will be able to produce new proteins from amino acids that nature did not choose to use them, but that apparently the existing flora and fauna will not be able to use them, so the usefulness is not clear even on the assumption that the scientists will be able to produce them.
    I hope that humanity will invest its limited resources in studying and developing products that will answer the human needs for food, medicine and energy sources that can be recycled.

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