Right now, it prints proteins. In the far future, it could print human babies on Mars. Craig Venter and Elon Musk have even discussed how printed life could help terraform Mars.
Genomics pioneer Craig Venter
In 2000, researchers finished the first draft of the human genome. Although the decreasing cost of the technology has far outpaced Moore’s Law since then, we have yet to fully leverage all that new information, to make it really useful.
Craig Venter: I was asked earlier whether the goal is to dissect what Schrödinger had spoken and written, or to present the new summary, and I always like to be forward-looking, so I won’t give you a history lesson except for very briefly. I will present our findings on first on reading the genetic code, and then learning to synthesize and write the genetic code, and as many of you know, we synthesized an entire genome, booted it up to create an entirely new synthetic cell where every protein in the cell was based on the synthetic DNA code.
Controversial genomics scientist and entrepreneur Craig Venter said last week at a conference on the future of energy at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C. that biofuels made from algae that will be able to scale, and compete with oil, will have to be synthesized and will not come from nature.Venter said in an interview, “It’s pretty obvious that there’s nothing in the natural world to make the levels that are needed,” and he pointed to algae oil yield volumes needing approximately 20,000 gallons per acre equivalent of algae.
Dr Craig Venter, a multi-millionaire pioneer in genetics, and his team have managed to make a completely new “synthetic” life form from a mix of chemicals. They manufactured a new chromosome from artificial DNA in a test tube, then transferred it into an empty cell and watched it multiply – the very definition of being alive.
Can we create new life out of our digital universe?” asks Craig Venter. And his answer is, yes, and pretty soon. He walks the TED2008 audience through his latest research into “fourth-generation fuels” — biologically created fuels with CO2 as their feedstock. His talk covers the details of creating brand-new chromosomes using digital technology, the reasons why we would want to do this, and the bioethics of synthetic life.