Artificial Life Possible in 3 to 10 Years, Scientists Say
Monday, August 20 2007 @ 04:47 PM MSD
Scientists and researchers have announced recently that they are within the verge of creating a new artificial life form” within the next 3 to 10 years. In laboratories worldwide, a handful of scientists are trying to create life from scratch and they're now saying they’re getting closer to that reality.
Experts expect an announcement within three to 10 years from someone in the now little-known field of "wet artificial life”. According toe Mark Bedau, the chief operating officer of ProtoLife of Venice Italy, "It's going to be a big deal and everybody's going to know about it," "We're talking about a technology that could change our world in pretty fundamental ways, in fact, in ways that are impossible to predict" Bedau further adds.
That first cell of a synthetic form, which is made from the basic chemicals in DNA, may not seem like much to non-scientists, since for the ordinary observer, you'll have to use a microscope to be able to see it. "Creating protocells has the potential to shed new light on our place in the universe," Bedau notes. "This will remove one of the few fundamental mysteries about creation in the universe and our role." Bedau further adds
One of the proponents in this field, Jack Szostak at Harvard Medical School, foresees that within the next six months, scientists will report evidence that the first step, that which of producing a cell membrane — would "not be a big problem." Scientists are using fatty acids to create that membrane. 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 the process of 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 surmises.