First synthetic bacterial genome created

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Washington, May 21 (ANI): In the third meeting of Hastings Center workshop examining moral issues in synthetic biology, the J. Craig Venter Group have announced the creation of the first synthetic bacterial genome.

The Hastings Center has been at the forefront of interdisciplinary research into ethical issues in emerging technology.

Project participants include synthetic biologists, bioethicists, philosophers, and public policy experts.

"Synthetic biology certainly raises deep philosophical and moral questions about the human relationship to nature," said Gregory Kaebnick, a Hastings Center scholar who is managing the project.

"It's not clear what the answers to those questions are. If by 'nature' we mean the world around us, more or less as we found it, we may well decide that synthetic biology does not really change the human relationship to nature-and may even help us preserve what is left of it," he added.

Nor is it clear that the questions raised by synthetic biology are new ones.

"We have come up against similar problems in other domains-most notably, in work on nanotechnology and gene transfer technology-but synthetic biology poses them especially sharply and pressingly," said Thomas H. Murray, president of The Hastings Center and the project's principal investigator. (ANI)

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