Saturday, January 1, 2011

A new beginning

The 21st century was ushered in by the ambitious humane genome project, which was completed in 2003 - well ahead of schedule. The end of the 21st century's first decade saw the creation of artificial life.

In the September 2010 issue of Scientific American, Arthur Caplan, of the University of Pennsylvania, writes:

"J. Craig Venter announced in May that he and his colleagues had made a new living bacterium from a genome they decoded, artificially rebuilt and then stuck into the cored-out remains of the bacterium Mycoplasma. When the hybrid bug began to reproduce, it became the first artificial organism, putting to rest the ancient and tenacious conceit that only a deity or some special power can create the sparks of life."

He concluded the short article with,

"Some people may feel that creating new organisms somehow imperils the dignity of life. I don't think it does. At bottom this is a triumph of knowledge. We can confirm the value we place on life when we understand better how it works."

Here here!

Since 2003, the cost of sequencing a human genome has fallen by a factor of a thousand, making inexpensive gene sequencing of individuals possible by the end of this decade. As a result, a future physician may be able run a simple test at the office that guides the synthesis of designer medications that are optimized to an individual's biochemistry to combat life-threatening diseases.

Technology has an impressive track record for improving our lives with better health and freedom from drudgery, unleashing the human spirit for nobler pursuits.

May your New Year be filled with health, prosperity and the deep satisfaction of meaningful pursuits.

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