Oh, Victor, you badass!
Sometime in the last few months (Update: Turns out it's closer to a year), working in a lab in California, a team of scientists has created the first artificial life form. It's small - based off the E.coli bacterium, but it produces an amino acid that isn't duplicated by any known life form.
Some heavy stuff on the life science front, these last few weeks. Cloning, new lifeforms... Discussion has, of course, ensued. I'm more interested in this, i'll admit, than i am in cloning. While i don't discount the possible benefits that cloning technology might bring, i think that the creative drive behind bringing new life forms into being is a purer expression of same than what amounts to vanity science.
I hope to see further work on this. And further discussions. It does suggest some pretty serious ethical questions - What sorts of responsibility, as its creators, do those scientists have to the new life that they have created? This one is only a bacterial organism, but what happens when they create new life that has, say, even the intelligence of a cat?
The power is in our hands now, so how about the responsibilities? Remember, in Frankenstein i tended to think that Victor was the victim, if not a very sympathetic one. When we create life, we'd best make sure to teach it to distinguish good from evil at such time that it's able to understand the difference.Tweet