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Regarding synthetic biology.

  1. May 24, 2010 #1
    Dear all

    Now -- as you all know -- scientists have reached the ability to synthesize a full DNA.

    My question is:
    Is it scientifically possible to synthesize a full cell? Can scientists do it?
    And if yes, when scientists can possibly reach that stage?

    Another question please:
    When scientists placed the synthetic DNA in to the empty cell, can we consider this empty cell (before placing the DNA) alive?
    Was it alive when it was empty?


    Thank you


    Waiting for replies.


    Best wishes



    Hadeka
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 24, 2010 #2
    It's not alive until it has genetic matereal in it.
     
  4. May 24, 2010 #3

    Ygggdrasil

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    Science Advisor

    One of the characteristics of life is the ability to reproduce and pass on heritable traits to its offspring. Without any genetic material, an empty cell would not fulfill this criterion.
     
  5. May 24, 2010 #4

    ACV

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    First of all, it is not possible to synthesize complete DNA.
    Read Venter's & Co. article in the Nature journal.

    to this:
    "When scientists placed the synthetic DNA in to the empty cell, can we consider this empty cell (before placing the DNA) alive?
    Was it alive when it was empty?"

    Well, it depends what you mean alive. YES, the first moments, the cell was able to perform it's functions due to the proteins remained in the cytoplasm. However, after a period of time the cell would die because no new proteins are synthesized. So you see, the cell wasn't empty, it just missed the blueprint for the protein production.
     
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