Only God can create life?or will we soon be able to do ittoo? Roland Pease writes for BBC that for the first time,U.S. researchers have created a form of artificial life.Their creation is nothing more than a group of crudebiological cells at the moment, but this could be the firststep in creating real life.

They made the cell walls from egg whites. Inside the cellsis E. coli bacteria that is stripped of its geneticmaterial. E. coli is a common bug that resides in spoiledfood and makes humans sick. The cells also contain an enzymefrom a virus.

This sounds like a distasteful mixture, but when theresearchers added genes to it, the cell fluid started toproduce proteins, which is what a normal, “natural” cellwould do. Critics say these cells aren’t actually alive,they?re just functioning automatically. This partly dependson how you define the word “alive,” and this debate islikely to go on for some time. The cells were also able tocreated the green fluorescent substance that is part of thebodies of jellyfish.

The lead researcher, Albert Libchaber, says the cells areabsolutely not dangerous, despite being based on viruses andbacteria.

We can’t create life yet, but we can rely on ourpoweranimals for strength. Don’t miss this Dreamland?this is theshow where Anne asks author Steven Farmer to comment on thenear death experience she had with her cat Coe!

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