Signs of the End

July 6, 2010

"created" cell

"created" synthetic cell

The Signs of the End which the Lord Jesus Christ gave to His disciples do not expressly include DNA and cell manipulation, but I am positive this is a fundamental part of His speech (as found in Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 17). In my humble opinion, these activities impinge directly upon the Creator’s creation, and He is not just going to stand for too long before He will raise His right arm of Judgement upon an arrogant and foolish humanity: arrogant because man thinks he can improve upon what He did, and foolish because they do not count the consequences of their dangerous science which will follow as sure as the sun rises in the east.

Another comment has to be made on the word being used here: “create.” That is highly inappropriate and totally incorrect. Man has no capacity to create anything. To create means to bring forth something out of nothing. We use the term “create” to indicate an artist’s work (a song, a painting, a sculpture, an idea) but this is inspiration and it’s in another department. Only God can create anything from nothing, just by the Word of His power.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. – Genesis 1:3

Well, man definitevly is out of that league. But man can take the things which God has created and manipulate them, coming up with altered and certainly dubious versions of the original. In the last few years we have gone from Genetic Modification, (changing organisms genetic code manually), also called Genetic Engineering, through the sequencing and mapping of the genome, human and otherwise, to the stem cells revolution, to the latest exploit of science: “creation of life, albeit artificial life” which in scope and reach is a notable jump forward in science’s knowledge and ability. As the following article describes, the stakes are pretty high, but the outcome is.

Scientists at the J. Craig Venter Institute have created a synthetic cell that can survive and reproduce itself according to an artificial DNA sequence, promising designer genomes with which researchers can produce sophisticated artificial organisms.

The new bacterial cell, “Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0,” is the result of a 15-year, $30 million effort by genetics pioneer Craig Venter. The study, led by the institute’s Dan Gibson, is reported in the May 21 edition of the journal Science.

The team of 25 researchers took Mycoplasma capricolum bacteria and completely rewrote its genetic code of more than 1 million base pairs of DNA. The data was sequenced as chemical DNA fragments and sewn together using yeast and E. coli bacteria.

The synthetic genome was transplanted into empty Mycoplasma mycoides bacteria, which were transformed into a new species. The creature’s software-like name, JCVI-syn1.0, reflects its status as the first of its kind.

To prove the genome is synthetic and to assert their ownership, the scientists even “watermarked” it by forming encoded words with the alphabet of genes and proteins. They included three quotations, among them a line from “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” by James Joyce: “To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life.” They also added a URL and e-mail address to allow researchers who decode the words to notify the institute.

Venter intends to patent the new cells, produced with funding from Synthetic Genomics, a genomics company that he founded in 2005.

Although the cell is primitive and lacks its own membrane, the techniques developed to create it promise groundbreaking advances in gene engineering and the rise of designer genomes. The achievement also raises ethical questions, not only about the creation of artificial life but the legitimacy of patenting it.

“The ability to routinely write the software of life will usher in a new era in science, and with it, new products and applications such as advanced biofuels, clean water technology, and new vaccines and medicines,” the institute, located in Rockville, Md., and San Diego, said on its Web site.

Scientists who were not involved in the study are cautioning that the new species is not a truly synthetic life form because its genome was put into an existing cell. But they are also hailing the results. Quoted in The Wall Street Journal, biologist Richard Ebright of Rutgers University called it “a turning point in the relationship between man and nature.”

May 20, 2010 3:12 PM PDT – CRAVE
Scientists create synthetic cell, version 1.0
by Tim Hornyak

As usual, the real motivation is the love of money (see patents) but cunningly they pass this to the general pubblic as unselfish efforts to help humanity overcome sickness and diseases. I have read enthusiastic comments to these latest news: finally mankind, is on the edge of immortality, finally man can choose exactly what and how he wants to live. Godhood with a little help from science.

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