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A mind-boggling Read: This machine could print synthetic life forms on demand, and our minds are reeling – ScienceAlert (Science Alert)

This is quite an astonishing read. Craig Venter is a driving force in this technology which would allow us to not only print synthetic life forms, but also digitally send that across – if necessary – very long distances. Perhaps interplanetary distances. But check for yourself:

“Back in 2016, biologist Craig Venter achieved something extraordinary. He built a new species of bacteria from scratch in the lab – the simplest genetic life form known to science, made entirely through chemical synthesis of a custom-made genome.

Now, he’s unveiled a new machine that could print these synthetic life forms on demand – simply feed in a genome design, and let the ‘ink’ form the building blocks of life. The invention could see us colonise Mars with synthetic life without ever setting foot on the Red Planet, and Venter and Elon Musk have teamed up to make this happen…”

Source: This machine could print synthetic life forms on demand, and our minds are reeling – ScienceAlert

Really great Long-Read on Genetic Engineering: Rewriting the Code of Life (Michael Specter)

Early on an unusually blustery day in June, Kevin Esvelt climbed aboard a ferry at Woods Hole, bound for Nantucket Island. Esvelt, an assistant professor of biological engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was on his way to present to local health officials a plan for ridding the island of one of its most persistent problems: Lyme disease. He had been up for much of the night working on his slides, and the fatigue showed. He had misaligned the buttons on his gray pin-striped shirt, and the rings around his deep-blue eyes made him look like a sandy-haired raccoon.

Esvelt, who is thirty-four, directs the “sculpting evolution” group at M.I.T., where he and his colleagues are attempting to design molecular tools capable of fundamentally altering the natural world…

Source: Rewriting the Code of Life – The New Yorker

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