Artificial Life Likely in 3-10 Years

turdfrgsn

it's a funny name
Mar 7, 2005
2,020
0
261
North Beach, MD
#1
Artificial life likely in 3 to 10 years

By SETH BORENSTEIN
BW Exclusives

WASHINGTON

Around the world, a handful of scientists are trying to create life from scratch and they're getting closer.

Experts expect an announcement within three to 10 years from someone in the now little-known field of "wet artificial life."

"It's going to be a big deal and everybody's going to know about it," said Mark Bedau, chief operating officer of ProtoLife of Venice, Italy, one of those in the race. "We're talking about a technology that could change our world in pretty fundamental ways -- in fact, in ways that are impossible to predict."

That first cell of synthetic life -- made from the basic chemicals in DNA -- may not seem like much to non-scientists. For one thing, you'll have to look in a microscope to see it.

"Creating protocells has the potential to shed new life on our place in the universe," Bedau said. "This will remove one of the few fundamental mysteries about creation in the universe and our role."

And several scientists believe man-made life forms will one day offer the potential for solving a variety of problems, from fighting diseases to locking up greenhouse gases to eating toxic waste.

Bedau figures there are three major hurdles to creating synthetic life:

-- A container, or membrane, for the cell to keep bad molecules out, allow good ones, and the ability to multiply.

-- A genetic system that controls the functions of the cell, enabling it to reproduce and mutate in response to environmental changes.

-- A metabolism that extracts raw materials from the environment as food and then changes it into energy.

One of the leaders in the field, Jack Szostak at Harvard Medical School, predicts that within the next six months, scientists will report evidence that the first step -- creating a cell membrane -- is "not a big problem." Scientists are using fatty acids in that effort.

Szostak is also optimistic about the next step -- getting nucleotides, the building blocks of DNA, to form a working genetic system.

His idea is that once the container is made, if scientists add nucleotides in the right proportions, then Darwinian evolution could simply take over.

"We aren't smart enough to design things, we just let evolution do the hard work and then we figure out what happened," Szostak said.

In Gainesville, Fla., Steve Benner, a biological chemist at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution is attacking that problem by going outside of natural genetics. Normal DNA consists of four bases -- adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine (known as A,C,G,T) -- molecules that spell out the genetic code in pairs. Benner is trying to add eight new bases to the genetic alphabet.

Bedau said there are legitimate worries about creating life that could "run amok," but there are ways of addressing it, and it will be a very long time before that is a problem.

"When these things are created, they're going to be so weak, it'll be a huge achievement if you can keep them alive for an hour in the lab," he said. "But them getting out and taking over, never in our imagination could this happen."
 
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WakeUpAmerica

Guest
#4
Haven't we learned our lesson from Jurrasic Park?
 

kloraferm

Humor is reason gone mad
Sep 6, 2002
31,366
41
783
Staten Island, NY
#7
Can't wait to hear the pro-lifers bitching and moaning about this shit. :icon_roll
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Aug 23, 2002
43,693
10,148
848
#9
i wonder if the artificial life is going to be better than my real life, cuz my cyber life sucks and so does my real one........
 

mascan42

Registered User
Aug 26, 2002
19,238
5,954
848
Ronkonkoma, Long Island
#10
"We aren't smart enough to design things, we just let evolution do the hard work and then we figure out what happened," Szostak said.
So they just create something and later on figure out what it is? And what happens when it turns out to be the fucking Andromeda Strain? Once they figure out how to do something, nobody stops to think if it's a good idea to actually do it or not.
 

martianvirus

READY THE ANALPROBES!!!!!!!!
Nov 20, 2005
19,062
134
268
Las Vegas, NV
#12
I have not listened to Rush Limbaugh in a long time. But today I had no choice, other then nothing.

He had some good points about this.

1. the article says that this 'life' can maybe get rid of global warming, cure diseases and other things.
2. The new 'life' can never grow and get out of control and kill us because it will be to weak to do anything.
3. points 1 and 2 don't go together.

This article is shit.
 

BIV

I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
Apr 22, 2002
79,639
27,842
898
Seattle
#14
*geek switch on*

Yuuzhan Vong FTW!!

*switch off*
 

Hudson

Supreme Champion!!!!!
Donator
Jan 14, 2002
32,840
4,566
898
Land of misfit toys
#16
Fr Dougal's appearance Kills all the fun


ps.... use me as a template...I am chattle!
 

Xyn

3 letters, 0 meaning
Mar 3, 2005
3,753
2
0
California
#19
I have not listened to Rush Limbaugh in a long time. But today I had no choice, other then nothing.

He had some good points about this.

1. the article says that this 'life' can maybe get rid of global warming, cure diseases and other things.
2. The new 'life' can never grow and get out of control and kill us because it will be to weak to do anything.
3. points 1 and 2 don't go together.
1. The early artificial life would be weak, thus couldn't get out of control nor could it help cure any current problems.
2. The research along these lines will likely lead to stronger artifical strains of life that we can create to perform complex tasks, perhaps solving problems of today and tomarow.
3. As we make stronger artifical life, we will also have to take greater safeguards to contain, control and understand it.
4. Rush Limbaugh is a moron.
 

bethm1b

person of interest
Dec 1, 2006
2,606
2
0
Just past the line.
#21
So we're going to create a race of some sort, and then we're going to use it to serve us and remain weak and stupid? Wasn't Hitler working on something like this?
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Aug 23, 2002
43,693
10,148
848
#22
So we're going to create a race of some sort, and then we're going to use it to serve us and remain weak and stupid? Wasn't Hitler working on something like this?
other way around