I saw Dr. Oz yesterday. His guest suggested that graduate students in five years would be capable of synthesizing smallpox from scratch. I think he was exaggerating right? About 7 years ago it took 2 years to synthesize polio from it's 7000 nucleotide recipe and it was thousands of times less virulent than the wild form. Smallpox has about 170,000 nucleotides. Has molecular biology changed that much in the interim period? I assume it doesn't scale linearly but rather would be much, much more difficult. How difficult is it to synthesize a single strand of DNA with 170,000 base pairs without so much as a single error?