Craig Venter - Discovery - Synthetic Genomics

Synthetic Genomics

Venter is currently the president of the J. Craig Venter Institute, which conducts research in synthetic biology. In June 2005, he co-founded Synthetic Genomics, a firm dedicated to using modified microorganisms to produce clean fuels and biochemicals. In July 2009, ExxonMobil announced a $600 million collaboration with Synthetic Genomics to research and develop next-generation biofuels.

Venter is seeking to patent the first life form created by humanity, possibly to be named Mycoplasma laboratorium. There is speculation that this line of research could lead to producing bacteria that have been engineered to perform specific reactions, for example, produce fuels, make medicines, combat global warming, and so on.

In May 2010, a team of scientists led by Venter became the first to successfully create what was described as "synthetic life". This was done by synthesizing a very long DNA molecule containing an entire bacterium genome, and introducing this into another cell, analogous to the accomplishment of Eckard Wimmer's group, who synthesized and ligated an RNA virus genome and "booted" it in cell lysate. The single-celled organism contains four "watermarks" written into its DNA to identify it as synthetic and to help trace its descendants. The watermarks include

  1. Code table for entire alphabet with punctuations
  2. Names of 46 contributing scientists
  3. Three quotations
  4. The web address for the cell.

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Synthetic Genomics

Synthetic Genomics is a company dedicated to using modified or synthetically produced microorganisms to produce the alternative fuels ethanol and hydrogen. Synthetic Genomics was founded in part by J. Craig Venter. Venter's previous company, Celera Genomics, was a driving force in the race to sequence the Human Genome.

The firm takes its name from the phrase synthetic genomics which is a scientific discipline of synthetic biology related to the generation of organisms artificially using genetic material. Currently, Synthetic Genomics is working to produce biofuels on an industrial-scale using recombinant algae and other microorganisms. They are receiving funding from companies like ExxonMobil for this venture.

Famous quotes containing the word synthetic:

    In every philosophical school, three thinkers succeed one another in the following way: the first produces out of himself the sap and seed, the second draws it out into threads and spins a synthetic web, and the third waits in this web for the sacrificial victims that are caught in it—and tries to live off philosophy.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)