Documenting the Coming Singularity

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Designer lifeforms - Artificial life 'could be created within five years' - March 12, 2009

Prof David Dreamer believes building a new lifeform from scratch is a daunting task but is confident it could happen in five to 10 years Photo: GETTY

Artificial life could be created "within five years", researchers from the USA have claimed.

Laboratories across the world are closing in on a "second genesis" - an achievement that would be one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs of all time.

Prof David Deamer, from California University, said although building a new lifeform from scratch is a daunting task he is confident it can happen in five to 10 years.

He said: "The momentum is building - we're knocking at the door."

A synthetic, made-to-order living system could produce everything from new drugs to biofuels and greenhouse gas absorbers.

Opponents of the controversial research claim the technology could lead to machines becoming "almost human".

But there would be no safety issues for a long time as any initial organisms would be very primitive and need large-scale life support in the lab, reports New Scientist.

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