WASHINGTON (AFP) - US scientists have taken a major step toward creating the first ever artificial life form by synthetically reproducing the DNA of a bacteria, according to a study published Thursday.
The move, which comes after five years of research, is seen as the penultimate stage in the endeavour to create an artificial life form based entirely on a man-made DNA genome -- something which has tantalised scientists and sci-fi writers for years.
"Through dedicated teamwork we have shown that building large genomes is now feasible and scalable so that important applications such as biofuels can be developed," said Hamilton Smith, from the J. Craig Venter Institute, in the study published in Science.
The research has been carried out at the laboratories of the controversial celebrity US scientist Craig Venter, who has hailed artificial life forms as a potential remedy to illness and global warming.
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