Living scale

Today is a white stone day for microbiologists, science, and all of us. Craig Venter and team have successfully created a new species “whose parent is the computer” (in Venter’s words). Their fabricated cells are capable of continuous self-replication and have already replicated several billion times. It is quite a new benchmark for a man-made scale out. This breakthrough ushers us in a new era much like the invention of steam engines and silicon chips did.

Around 2005 0r 2006, I met some microbiologists at a Grid Computing meeting. In a chat over dinner, they told us that in five years or so we would be hearing of some folks playing jr. God in a lab. Were they right!

Like the Manhattan project scientists found out at their time, with power come responsibilities. Today’s breakthrough is due to stir up some strong debate around bioethics.

NOTE: This week’s Economist issue has a great op-ed, a briefing article, and a cool cover too.

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