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"Artificial life" created as scientist makes synthetic chromosome

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Craig Venter, a DNA researcher that had a part in deciphering the human genome, has stuck together 580,000 base pairs of genetic code to create an entirely new and alien chromosome. Based around the Mycoplasma genitalium bacterium (pictured in all its primordial glory), the new chromosome is then implanted into a living cell and renamed as Mycoplasma laboratorium -- don't you just love science jokes? The new "life form" is reliant on the host cell for replication and metabolism so it's not exactly entirely synthetic, but as the DNA is different, it is effectively an artificial form of life. Sounds like the human race's really doomed now: ultimately, all we're doing is setting the robots up with a tag team.

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