It’s life, Sir, but not as we know it….

Uhyre interessant foredrag av Craig Venter om syntetiske gener fra TED (mine notater "after the jump"):

…og like interessant er Steven Shapin’s anmeldelse av Venters selvbiografi, som virker litt "miffed" over at Venters måte å forske på – med profitt for øye og store investeringer, og han tydeligvis ikke passer inn i den tradisjonelle forestillingen om en vitenskapsmann som en som holder på med sitt og er lykkelig med det. Craig Venter påståes å være aggressiv, arrogant og en tøff konkurrent. Og hva er problemet med det?

Via den uhyre produktive Paul Kedrosky.

Craig Venter, TED talks:
– from reading the life’s code to writing it
– speed of sequencing genomes incredibly fast: will do 130 as a side project next year
– expedition collecting seawater, filter it for organism, sequence what you find
– 1.3b new genes and 50K new species in one barrel of seawater
– also looking at microbes breathed in on a daily basis
– findings: Biodiversity in each region is amazing – some of it due to temperature
– photoreceptors vary by region as well
– of the 29m genes in animals, we have only 24000 so far
– synthetic genomics: Can we construct genes from scratch. Getting rapid and cheap, have to find out what is essential
– started with transposon mutagenesis, changing things around
– relatively few genes common to mechanisms
– managed to create a synthetic virus from 5000 pairs
– "software building its own hardware"
– safety: Smallpox, for instance, cannot be made infectious
– but single-cells can be made within two years, and cariotics within 10 years
– D. radiodurans: Microbes that rebuild themselves after massive doses of radiation
– synthetic cells have tremenduous potential, such as capturing CO2
– Dupont and Statoil have programs to metabolize methane
– could replace the oil industry itself
– ethicals and policy studies, delayed experiments on artificial mechanism:
– religious leaders could find no objection, what remained was concerns about biological warfare