Researchers at the private J.Craig Venter Institute created for the first time a synthetic cell, creating a new era in biology.
Genomics pioneer Craig Venter, who guided the project said "We call it the first synthetic cell".
The experimental synthetic one-cell organisms, which almost like any other normal real cell, can reproduce. This opens new doors to the scientists to experiment and manipulate life forms for the better. Till now scientists and researchers were able to manipulate small fragment of genome in plants and animals or microorganisms using genetic engineering techniques. But the ability to synthesize chemically whole genome offers new power to scientists. The new synthetic bacteria were produced at the cost of $40million, but the technique has the capacity to transform genetic engineering.
Molecular biologist Richard Ebright at Rutgers University said "This is literally a turning point in relationship between man and nature and also for the first time, someone was able to generate whole synthetic cell with predetermined characteristics as the whole genome is manmade.

Procedure Used to Create Synthetic Cell:

1. To make the first synthetic cell 25 scientists were working on from 1995, they literally changed computer code into a life form.
2. Scientists first started with bacteria known as Myoplasma capricolum.
3. Scientists wrote the whole genomic code in a digital format using biochemical alphabets of adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine. The whole artificial genome was more than one million base pair long.
4. Then these codes are sent to DNA sequencing company Blue Heron Bio in Bothell, Wash., where digital form of genome is being converted into small fragments of chemical DNA.
5. These small fragments of chemical DNA are stitched together to form a genome using natural capacity of yeast and other species of bacteria.
6. This new genome was then transferred to emptied bacterial cell, which is then converted into a different species.
7. Scientists called these new synthetic bacteria as Mycoplasma mycoides.

Future Application:

1. New field known as synthetic biology, which combines computer science, chemistry, genetics, molecular biology and cell biology to produce life forms that can produce fuels, vaccines or any other commercial products.

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