M. mycoides, Oil spills, iPad and Lady Gaga

Last May 20, 2010 american scientists led by Craig Venter announced the creation of a self-replicating synthetic life in the form of a bacteria, M. mycoides JCVI-syn1.0. That’s Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0. This is the first time that man designed something than can self-replicate, a genome sequence made in a computer, complete with watermarks and codes to identify IT as truly unmistakeably man-made. When it was implanted into a Mycoplasma capricolum, a natural bacteria, the sythetic began producing enzymes that destroyed the M. capricolum’s original genome very much like the Borg assimilating humans.

So what we have here is a synthetic cell able to reproduce, has a unique genome sequence, and is able to defend its own existence.

I think when we look back to the first half of 2010, we will agree that it is a watershed moment. Apple just came out with iPad, selling a million in just a month, eclipsing its iPhone and iPod products. The United States is still suffering from the economic recession that began in September 2008. The world economic giant is relinquishing its role to China, Germany and South Korea. The biggest environmental disaster since Chernobyl is growing in the Gulf of Mexico. BP is yet to cap that bleeding pipe. NASA is doing the last of its shuttle missions. They plan to outsouce their manned missions in the future to private companies.

And based on her Youtube views, Lady Gaga’s popularity is soaring. Her gender might be questionable but not her impact on the pop culture.


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