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Scientists Build Possibly The First Man-Made Genome

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the quite-a-crafting-combine dept.

Biotech 264

hackingbear writes "Wired is reporting that researchers have created the longest synthetic genome to date by threading together four long strands of DNA. 'Leading synthetic biologists said with the new work, published Thursday in the journal Science, the first synthetic life could be just months away — if it hasn't been created already. [...] The ability to synthesize longer DNA strands for less money parallels the history of genetic sequencing, where the price of sequencing a human genome has dropped from hundreds of millions of dollars to about $10,000. Just a few years ago, synthesizing a piece of DNA with 5,000 rungs in its helix, known as base-pairs, was impossible. Venter's new synthetic genome is 582,000 base-pairs.' As a programmer, I'm most excited by the possibility of a new platform and the programming jobs that will be created by it."

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264 comments

In case you been living in a cave with Cheney (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22173600)


Synthetic Genomics

Thanks for the SuperFlu, Craig! (3, Insightful)

nebrshugyo (1216152) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173610)

If Venter and company royally screw-up, and create some bug that kills us all, or turns the biosphere to a pile of gray goo, nobody's going to make any money off of dandy, new, commoditized designer life forms. Where do I complain?

Re:Thanks for the SuperFlu, Craig! (4, Insightful)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173670)

I'd be more worried about the tech becoming common enough and easy enough to use that anyone with $100,000 and some spare time can make a super-virus, or a bacterium that is extremely hardy and destroys wheat or rice crops, or any number of other nasty things.

Ewww! (5, Funny)

monkeyboythom (796957) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173764)

As a programmer, I'm most excited by the possibility of a new platform and the programming jobs that will be created by it.

As a regular guy, I am NOT excited by the thought of thousands of fat, greasy programmers drooling over a test tube and a well worn copy of "Weird Science."

As my friend Han was so fond of saying, "I've got a bad feeling about this."

Re:Ewww! (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174104)

Yeah, when they all forget to attach the doll it'd kinda ruin the whole nuclear non-proliferation bent pretty badly.

Re:Ewww! (1)

EntropyXP (956792) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174188)

Sounds like a geeks dream come true. Let's make a man-made woman. Throw out sex with robots and bring in the sex with manmade fleshbots! Imagine, designing a woman that doesn't vocal cords! OMG!

Re:Ewww! (2, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174456)

As a regular guy, I am NOT excited by the thought of thousands of fat, greasy programmers drooling over a test tube and a well worn copy of "Weird Science."

As my friend Han was so fond of saying, "I've got a bad feeling about this."
Tell the programmer to keep his hands to himself.

Re:Thanks for the SuperFlu, Craig! (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173798)

Ahhh, I see, you're one of those people who hears the term "Super-empowered Individual" and thinks of it as a bad thing. Whereas I'm kinda of the opinion that the problem with our society is the dis-empowerment of the individual.

Guess you think concealed-carry licenses are a bad idea too.

Re:Thanks for the SuperFlu, Craig! (1)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173840)

I guess you think every individual on the planet should have nuclear weapons? I mean, that would be "super-empowered individuals," right?

Re:Thanks for the SuperFlu, Craig! (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173890)

Well, the thing about nukes is that you need a good delivery device.. oh, and they're pretty conspicuous, so you'd need a secret silo too. That's, umm, really a lot of capital investment. That said, if more concerned citizens had access to "the button" then we'd hardly have any threat of military coup would we?

Re:Thanks for the SuperFlu, Craig! (3, Funny)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174014)

That said, if more concerned citizens had access to "the button" then we'd hardly have any threat of military coup would we?

Of course not because we'd all be dead by now.

Re:Thanks for the SuperFlu, Craig! (1, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174072)

The problem isn't concerned citizens, it's sociopaths and those brainwashed by sociopaths. You know, there are some people who hate humanity enough to wipe us all off the map if they could easily create a superbug to do it. You okay with that possibility? Now, the fact is, even if access to this tech were somehow restricted, criminals and crazies would still find a way to get it. How long before we see a virus tailored to wipe out, say, Jews? This is going to happen, we'd better start thinking of ways to deal with it now. I mean, if anyone could go down to Radio Shack and buy a kit to do genetic engineering for a few hundred bucks, how long before someone creates a species-killer by accident? I agree, restricting access isn't the answer, but I don't know what is.

Re:Thanks for the SuperFlu, Craig! (1, Offtopic)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174070)

Guess you think concealed-carry licenses are a bad idea too.

I do. I see nothing wrong with protection of life and property, but you don't need a concealed gun to do that.

Basically they should outlaw any gun under five feet long. And bullets should be ridiculously priced, like $10k or something (although every 5ft or longer gun would come with one free bullet). That keeps the right for self defence but gets rid of the morons shooting at each other for fun.

Re:Thanks for the SuperFlu, Craig! (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174130)

Basically they should outlaw any gun under five feet long. And bullets should be ridiculously priced, like $10k or something (although every 5ft or longer gun would come with one free bullet). That keeps the right for self defence but gets rid of the morons shooting at each other for fun.

What do I do if I'm attacked by a flock of grizzly b'ars in the mountains, then?

Open carry then? (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174242)

I do. I see nothing wrong with protection of life and property, but you don't need a concealed gun to do that.

Well, you don't if open carry is allowed, I guess. There are, of course, many examples of people who actually have protected life and property with a concealed gun.

Basically they should outlaw any gun under five feet long. And bullets should be ridiculously priced, like $10k or something (although every 5ft or longer gun would come with one free bullet). That keeps the right for self defence but gets rid of the morons shooting at each other for fun.

Well, at least it would keep the right of self defense for the rich, at least.

You do realize that people who have concealed carry permits are 5-300 times less likely to commit crimes than people without them, right?

Re:Thanks for the SuperFlu, Craig! (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174294)

Basically they should outlaw any gun under five feet long. And bullets should be ridiculously priced, like $10k or something (although every 5ft or longer gun would come with one free bullet). That keeps the right for self defence but gets rid of the morons shooting at each other for fun.

And all the criminals would carry sawed off weapons and go around mugging people for their ammo. Forget the wallet, the bullets are worth way more. It's these sort of poorly thought out ideas that cause problems. You have to consider all implications of decisions you make. Bear in mind that no matter what you decide to do, there will be people out there looking to see how they can exploit it to their ends, including getting around restrictions, and more importantly, making a profit off said restrictions. It's worth remembering that organized crime in America didn't really take off till prohibition, when they suddenly found something illegal that was very profitable with minimal risk. Always remember the law of unintended consequences.

Re:Thanks for the SuperFlu, Craig! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22174416)

Yeah? Well... I think all guns aught to be the size of your average Saturday Night Special and should spit out anti-particle payloads, so that each shot releases the potential energy of a light grenade!

Re:Thanks for the SuperFlu, Craig! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22174452)

I agree the idea of Super-empowered individuals sounds amazing! Where do I sign up? You are right the anti-focus on individuality has destroyed our society, making us nothing more than worker drones and suspended our self-awareness in fear of being rejected from what is considered to be normal behavior and process of life..

If Armageddon means having society move back to small units who excel the individual then I'm all for it!!! Perhaps some of these materialistic and egocentric people will vanish once and for all!

Re:Thanks for the SuperFlu, Craig! (4, Insightful)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173756)

If 'grey goo' could happen from nanotech or biotech, then bacteria would have done it already.

So far, all that's happened is some assorted earthtone sludge.

Re:Thanks for the SuperFlu, Craig! (1)

ndelta (1102663) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174198)

"If 'grey goo' could happen from nanotech or biotech, then bacteria would have done it already." Well bacteria have produced a "green goo" that has rapidly spread across the earth. It only took them a few billion years. It is a little more structured than "goo" though.

Re:Thanks for the SuperFlu, Craig! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22173912)

Don't worry, either Will Smith will save us or Milla Jovovich will blast us all to bits afterwards.

Re:Thanks for the SuperFlu, Craig! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22174088)

I would gladly be Milla's Gentleman who fell.

Re:Thanks for the SuperFlu, Craig! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22173990)

I suppose having a "bug" in your code is a bit of a double-entendre when you're code runs in a biological cell.

Re:Thanks for the SuperFlu, Craig! (0, Redundant)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174136)

Turns the biosphere into gray goo? I really doubt there's anything (DNA based or otherwise) that replicates so much better than bacteria that it can turn everything, including bacteria, into gray goo. If something came close a bacteria strain would find a way to break it down, and thrive itself.

But, but... (4, Funny)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173634)

But Jesus, and the Bible!

Re:But, but... (4, Funny)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173674)

But Jesus, and the Bible!
Yes, don't worry...
We'll be able to genetically replicate those soon too

Re:But, but... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174322)

You need a genetic sample...and if you can find a Genetic sample of Christ, that kibnd of throws Chritianity down the crapper.

Like when they got all excited because someone claimed to find Christs body and I'm like "Dude, that's proof your religion is based on nothing."

OTOH, these same people thinks Christs birth is the important part.

Right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22173872)

Because the people worried about this have no worry that if you can program using DNA, we could have literal "virus writers" ...

Of course, that could also raise some interesting new questions: if we can create a dangerous virus, how will we know which ones evolved and which ones were intelligently designed?

Re:Right... (1)

Henneshoe (987210) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174164)

If some programmer "writes" a virus we just need a team of programmers to reverse engineer it and "write" an anti-virus. I can see it now Mcaffee Biological Edition Pro 2009. Annual subscription...$99.99.

Will it make me run slower?

Re:But, but... (1)

no_opinion (148098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173894)

And while we're at it, can artificially created life have a soul? ;-)

Re:But, but... (2, Informative)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174040)

The official position of the Catholic Church, IIRC, is that animals do not have a soul--so no problem there; just define any artificially created lifeforms as non-human animals, and then you'll have no theological problems.

Not sure about how the other 5/6 of the world's population would think about it, though.

Re:But, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22174100)

But what do children do when they grow up, but take on the tasks of their parents.
So also the children of God....

Impossible? (3, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173636)

Just a few years ago, synthesizing a piece of DNA with 5,000 rungs in its helix, known as base-pairs, was impossible.
Yet, somehow we've managed to have life on earth...

Re:Impossible? (3, Informative)

bumby (589283) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173742)

unless you believe in "intelligent" design, life on earth wasn't synthesized. At least not by the definition of the word in this domain.

Re:Impossible? (5, Funny)

esampson (223745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173830)

I have my own theory; so many things in this world annoy me that they couldn't have happened by random chance. Instead they are proof of some supreme cosmic being who shaped the world just to piss me off.

I call my theory Belligerent Design. (with all credit to Lore Sjoberg for that joke).

I used to be a paranoid... (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173996)

they are proof of some supreme cosmic being who shaped the world just to piss me off

Whenever I think somebody, anyone, not just supreme cosmic beings, is trying to piss me off, I think: am I really that important? Why, exactly, would anyone make an effort to piss me off? Nah, probably just a coincidence.

Re:I used to be a paranoid... (3, Funny)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174378)

Whenever I think somebody, anyone, not just supreme cosmic beings, is trying to piss me off, I think: am I really that important? Why, exactly, would anyone make an effort to piss me off? Nah, probably just a coincidence.
You're trying to piss me off aren't you?

Re:I used to be a paranoid... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174388)

Like those egomaniacs that think "My children are deformed, God must be punishing me."
WTF? you did something so awesome, God himself took an interest in you AND made your children suffer?

Meh. I'll stick to being an Atheist. God never punishes me, the Devil never tempts me, and I get to do good deeds just because they are good.

Re:Impossible? (1)

esampson (223745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173762)

I think the key word in that sentence is 'synthesizing'. They weren't saying it wasn't possible for it to happen. Just that we couldn't do it ourselves. :)

You are correct! (1)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173808)

We could not synthesize DNA with over 5,000 base pairs until recently. Obviously, natural DNA has more base pairs than this. Yes, you are correct, life exists on earth, and we did not create it. Glad that's sorted out.

Re:You are correct! (1)

everett (154868) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174186)

I think my children would disagree with you as to whether or not I had any role in creating two of the billions of lives on Earth. The mailman probably agrees though.

Re:You are correct! (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174448)

I think my children would disagree with you as to whether or not I had any role in creating two of the billions of lives on Earth. The mailman probably agrees though.
Just because you can jump off a cliff doesn't mean you created gravity. And before anyone gets all pedantic on me, yes I know mass creates gravity, and therefore everyone is creating a bit of gravity, but you get my point. Also, this is not in any way shape or form a car analogy, so don't even mention them.

The question that needs to be asked is (2, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173640)

will they use this technology to create a life form who is programmed to create other life forms?

Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! IT'S A NET!!!*

*My apologies for this horrendously bad joke

Re:The question that needs to be asked is (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173718)

The odds are very good that has already happened. Compare the estimated life of the universe to the estimated life of your star system.

Re:The question that needs to be asked is (1)

MacarooMac (1222684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173738)

"What remains now that we have this complete synthetic chromosome ... is to boot this up in a cell."
Let's hope their booting up GNOME..**

**My appologies for this even more horrendous joke.

Should I be happy... or scared (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173662)

I mean, imagine the possibilities. The ability to create synthetic, self replicating machines that produce whatever material we could need. Tailor drugs and chemicals by using "Biotechnology".

Or should I be afraid of the first "programmed virus" that can actually infect human beings?

I don't know. As usual, it seems to have two sides. What comes out of it is up to us, I guess. In other words, if I believed in God, I'd hope he has mercy with us.

Program me a kudzu/marijuana hybrid. (3, Funny)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173668)

If that can be achieved (much like a Florida geneticist once made THC-producing orange trees) then you'll single-handedly kick the War on Drugs' ass. That would be a worthy cause right there.

Why bother hacking marijuana? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22173984)

Cannabis is already an annoying weed that will grow nearly anywhere.

Re:Program me a kudzu/marijuana hybrid. (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174400)

If that can be achieved (much like a Florida geneticist once made THC-producing orange trees) then you'll single-handedly kick the War on Drugs' ass. That would be a worthy cause right there.
Considering the carnivorous plant thread earlier, I don't want to know what that tree would be like when it gets the munchies.

Wonderful (3, Insightful)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173672)

As a programmer, I'm most excited by the possibility of a new platform and the programming jobs that will be created by it.

Geez. The LAST thing society needs is a bunch of synthesized clones running around with hacked up spaghetti code for genes.

Re:Wonderful (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173698)

Such a thing would be a fitting tribute to the FSM (may his noodly appendage touch all!)

Re:Wonderful (2, Funny)

Script Cat (832717) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174224)

How can this be attributed to the Finite State Machine. Typically things like this have massive parallelism.
Though I donot usually draw a weiner when designing a FSM, its appendaged are pretty noodly.

Re:Wonderful (4, Funny)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173790)

Geez. The LAST thing society needs is a bunch of synthesized clones running around with hacked up spaghetti code for genes.
Yes, Comment your genes for god sake!!!

Re:Wonderful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22173812)

I for one welcome our new Mycoplasma genitalium overlords!

Re:Wonderful (1)

esampson (223745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173884)

Kind of brings new meaning to Blue Screen of Death.

Windows Genome has detected an error in your base pairs and is now shutting down.

malware (1)

pikine (771084) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173900)

As a programmer, I'm most excited by the possibility of a new platform and the programming jobs that will be created by it.
That definitely gives a new meaning to "virus" and "worm." Oh wait... Don't you botnet me.

Re:Wonderful (1)

phranklyng (892659) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174306)

Good point. Although I'm genuinely intrigued by the possibilities suggested by this new "platform," I've had to fix enough crappy code (mostly written by others, some written by myself) that I quake at the thought of this. Most of the time, bad code just won't execute; the trouble is those rare occasions when it does.

At last! (2, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173680)

I will have my four-legged chicken! (The drumstick is my favorite part)

You think small (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174262)

1000 leg chicken. hhhmm and "centiken"? "chickapede"?

Yeah, I think I'll call it a "Chickapede"

First genome to post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22173690)

I propose World of Warcraft make a $1 billion X-Prize like fund for whoever can make an artificial Murloc. Mrrghhbrbl!

whatcouldpossiblygowrong? (5, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173708)

"As a programmer, I'm most excited by the possibility of a new platform and the programming jobs that will be created by it."
As a programmer, when I think of the quality of the HTML on most websites, and then read the above sentence, I throw up in my mouth a little.

Re:whatcouldpossiblygowrong? (1)

spleen_blender (949762) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173820)

Elitist much? Shortsighted perhaps?

Things don't start off perfect, or even good. They get there by wading through the mistakes and learning from the garbage you see. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

Re:whatcouldpossiblygowrong? (2, Informative)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174112)

Dude. HTML is a completely known entity. There are VALIDATERS for it, and the quality of most HTML is rubbish. An influenza [wikipedia.org] virus has only 10 genes, meaning it doesn't take much "code" to make some really bad bad shit.

Re:whatcouldpossiblygowrong? (2, Interesting)

spleen_blender (949762) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174142)

My point isn't to praise in any way the people that aren't performing to that standard. It is the fact that they exist almost as a reminder as to what not to do. Sort of a "without night there is no day" kind of thing.

You make a good point with the dangers that loom. You should read if you haven't "The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil. It has some good ideas as to how to deal with this topic with nanotech and AI.

Re:whatcouldpossiblygowrong? (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174232)

Things don't start off perfect, or even good. They get there by wading through the mistakes and learning from the garbage you see. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

He's about 5 stages later when things are made by morons using tools that employ canned templates. Then the moron screws with things so that it's designed for crap and just barely works, but if you change anything it collapses.

You want the genome version of that?

meme time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22173714)

I, for one, welcome our new synthetically-manufactured genomic overlords.

Now, instead of Hardware, Geneware Code gets (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173728)

counted....

It used to be in the prehistoric computing days, engineers got paid by number of lines cranked out. Now, it looks like gene engineers will bask in that opportunity.

But, hopefully, they don't crank out shitty code. Or, well REALLY have "The First man-Made Gnome" (which is what I read at first...). This could be a different take on Project Genesis.

I for one, (1)

Edward Teach (11577) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173782)

welcome our new synthetic overlords. (It had to be done.)

Re:I for one, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22174086)

Yes it did. It's a shame you had to be the second one to do it. =)

Re:I for one, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22174146)

No, it didn't have to be done, you feckless pirate!

Biology as the next Programming language (2, Insightful)

DFDumont (19326) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173786)

The final line of the paragraph scares me to death - I haven't met a programmer whom I'd turn loose on a DNA construction. It would be like handing a loaded, fully-automatic weapon, with the safety ground off, to a three-year-old; or asking them to complete a fully distributed ERP system written in assembler.
Just because we CAN do something doesn't mean we SHOULD. Perhaps if we constructed a complete corpus of biological effects, and dependencies of all currently known sequences (yeah right, like we're going to sequence every living organism on the planet) we could at least reasonably predict what the effect of NEW sequences might be. Until then the human race is the three-year-old. The gun is loaded. (waiting for the bang...)

Dennis Dumont

Re:Biology as the next Programming language (1)

The_Sledge (1049070) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174050)

Mod parent up please. That's as good an explanation as any. I agree, just because we "can" doesn't mean we "should".

For now, cue the Frankenstein references in the replies to this article...

Re:Biology as the next Programming language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22174152)

isn't the right to handling loaded, fully-automatic weapons, with the safety ground off, to three-year-olds what the second amendment is all about?

Just because we CAN do something... (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174436)

>Just because we CAN do something doesn't mean we SHOULD. If something CAN be done it WILL.

time to debug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22173802)

Ahhh, finally PR94839 is fixable

if (me.sees(female.is_hot()) {
      self.panic();
  }
to

if (female.sees(me) {
      female.swoon();
  }

Re:time to debug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22174454)

I beleive that would require a visitor pattern in the female object, as it needs to accept me.

Just so long as you don't use the term..... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173832)

... intelligent design, science will be safe from religious ridicule.

When the dust settles... (1)

The_Sledge (1049070) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173848)

Reminds me of a joke I heard a long time ago...

A doctor dies and goes to heaven. St. Peter meets him at the Pearly Gates and checks him in. After he's registered, St. Peter says to him, "Look at the time: you must be hungry! Heaven Cafeteria is serving lunch, why don't you get yourself something to eat?"

The doctor goes to the cafeteria and notices the long line. He immediately cuts in at the front, only to hear loud protests. "I'm a doctor" he says, "I'm a busy man, I don't have time to wait in line."

The others say, "You're in heaven now, we're all the same here, get to the back of the line and wait your turn!"

A few weeks later, waiting patiently on line for lunch, the doctor notices a man come dashing in wearing scrubs and a lab coat, stethoscope around his neck. He butts in at the head of the line and no one utters a peep. "Hey," he says to the guy in front of him, "Who does that guy think he is?"

"Oh, that's God," says the guy, "He likes to play doctor."

One day it's going to bite us back, hard!

Re:When the dust settles... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174162)

Or this:

Jesus and St Peter are playing golf. The 6th hole is nothing but water from the tee to the green.

St Peter says, "I'd use a five iron". Jesus says, "Arnold Palmer would use a 7 iron"; tees up and hits the ball right into the water. Jesus says, "Do Over?".

Again, St Peter says, "I'd use a five iron". Jesus says, "yes, but Arnold Palmer would use a 7 iron"; tees up and again hits the ball right into the water.

Jesus then walks out onto the water to retrieve is golf balls as the next party walks up to St Peter. The man says, "Hey, who does that guy think he is, Jesus Christ?" St Peter says, "No, Arnold Palmer."

Procedural Abstraction (3, Insightful)

Aram Fingal (576822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173858)

In the article, Venter says that they will need something similar to high level programming tools in order to accomplish useful modifications. I think that there is already plenty of evidence that genetic systems have procedural abstraction. In talking about gene activation, Biologists often use the term "ordered cascade" to describe what's happening when one gene activates a few more and those genes, in turn, activate other genes. If you think about it, it's exactly like subroutines of a program. Construction of the bacterial flagellum, for example, starts with the activation of one gene, which activates others, leading to the contribution of about 25 genes. These genes contribute various parts of the flagellum and activation of the cellular machinery to put it together and attach it to the cell wall.

Re:Procedural Abstraction (1)

Pennidren (1211474) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174470)

The problem is that the subroutines of this program are not abstracted in terms that are meaningful to us.

all your base-pair are belong to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22173886)

you know the rest

Super specie (1)

ctdownunder (816383) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173888)

I humbly contribute the following definition. "A super specie is a specie that can change it's own DNA consciously."

"As a programmer, I'm most excited by the (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173904)

"As a programmer, I'm most excited by the possibility of a new platform and the programming jobs that will be created by it."

brings new meaning to the phrase "script kiddie"

Re:"As a programmer, I'm most excited by the (1)

PachmanP (881352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174212)

brings new meaning to the phrase "scripted kitty"


There fixed that for you

Monster Debugging (2, Insightful)

MOBE2001 (263700) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173920)

As a programmer, I'm most excited by the possibility of a new platform and the programming jobs that will be created by it.

And who's going to debug all the billions of self-reproducing monsters you unleash into the world, pray tell?

doomsday (1)

cytg.net (912690) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173922)

alot of doomsday prophecies here, virus me this virus me that, whos afraid of the big bad
Anyway, at least every single combination of anything useful or otherwise destructive will be patented from here to the end of days .. So SHOULD some half witted idiot decide create a killer virus in his basement, at least he'll be sued to death.

This will give rise to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22173950)

KHAAANNN!

When this programming work gets (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22173992)

outsourced to India, can we look forward to seeing incarnations of Hindu gods? Or perhaps a call center rep that can simultaneously use two headsets, hold two conversations, and use to computers at the same time to read from two poorly written support scripts?

And where, oh where, does a two-headed marmoset controlled domestic robot fall in Islamic law?

soon tv commercials (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 6 years ago | (#22174444)

Telling us how great a third arm would be, but it will have all kinds of unpleasant side effects that may happen to a small number of people. Good thing we are all capable of making decisions about big pharma commercials like an informed doctor. sarcasm off.
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