By J. Craig Venter
“Venter instills awe for biology because it is, and because it may possibly develop into in our hands.” —Publishers Weekly
On might 20, 2010, headlines all over the world introduced essentially the most remarkable accomplishments in sleek technological know-how: the production of the world’s first artificial lifeform. In lifestyles on the velocity of Light, scientist J. Craig Venter, most sensible recognized for sequencing the human genome, stocks the dramatic account of the way he led a workforce of researchers during this pioneering attempt in man made genomics—and how that paintings may have a profound influence on our lifestyles within the future years. this can be a interesting and authoritative learn that offers readers a chance to think about afresh the age-old query “What is life?” on the sunrise of a brand new period of organic engineering.
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Additional info for Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life
A human genome includes merely round 6 × 109 bits of data. My staff is perfecting the way to ship the digitized model of DNA code within the type of an electromagnetic wave—and then use a distinct receiver at a far off place to re-create lifestyles. this may mark a metamorphosis among basic domain names of particle varieties. all of the existence that we all know of in the world is a chemical-based method whose each structural component—DNA, RNA, proteins, lipids, and different molecules—is composed of person atoms of alternative chemical parts (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, iron, and so on). the weather and their very own development blocks (for instance, the electrons, which orbit the nucleus, and quarks, which make up the nucleus) are jointly referred to as fermions. (“Fermions,” a connection with the good Enrico Fermi (1901–1954), is a time period coined by way of the English physicist Paul Dirac (1902–1984), who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1933 with Erwin Schrödinger “for the invention of recent effective different types of atomic concept. ”) the opposite frequent classification includes bosons, consisting of the Higgs and all debris that hold forces, particularly gluons, the W and the Z, and the photon, the stuff of electromagnetic waves. the major distinction among fermions and bosons is a quantum estate known as “spin. ” Bosons have, by way of definition, integer spin; quarks, electrons, and different fermions all have a part unit of spin. This ends up in an important distinction of their habit and, in relation to fermions, is liable for the complete of chemistry, and as a result biology. after we learn the genetic code through sequencing a genome, we're changing the actual code of DNA right into a electronic code that may be remodeled into an electromagnetic wave that may be transmitted on the pace of sunshine. It was once Dimitar Sasselov, director of the Harvard Origins of existence Initiative, who drew my recognition to how this feat straddles the 2 nice domain names of debris: So, lifestyles as we all know it, and because it turns out to have originated traditionally on our planet, is a fermionic phenomenon—all its buildings are made up of fermions. the knowledge coded within the DNA molecule is coded with the aid of fermions, and is learn with assistance from fermions. Our skill this day to symbolize that info in electronic shape and transmit it over distances utilizing electromagnetic waves (at the rate of sunshine! ) marks life’s transition from in simple terms fermionic to bosonic. 10 At man made Genomics, Inc. (SGI), we will feed the electronic DNA code right into a software that instantly works out tips on how to resynthesize the series within the laboratory. This automates the method of designing overlapping oligonucleotides of 50 to 80 base pairs, including particular limit websites and watermarks, after which feeds them into the built-in oligonucleotide synthesizer. The synthesizer will speedily produce the oligonucleotides, with a purpose to be instantly pooled and assembled utilizing our Gibson-assembly robotic. even though oligonucleotide synthesis will be conducted with remarkably greater constancy than used to be attainable 40 years in the past, it continues to be an error-prone method that does produce a fragment of unintentional DNA sequences, a fragment that grows with the scale of the bogus DNA fragments.