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Have we created life?

Not very long ago, a group of scientists led by AAAS Member J. Craig Venter announced that they had created synthetic life in the form of bacteria. In this announcement, he said, \This is the first self-replicating species that we have on this planet whose parent is a computer."

With such strong words we can be sure that this will mark an important time in our history. Not only will these synthetic bacteria be used through various means and applications throughout wide-spanning industries but the mere creation of human made bacteria will most certainly require serious philosophical and ethical considerations. After all, it appears that bacteria are becoming more and more a utility of industry, rather than simply living organisms.

What made this announcement even more revolutionary is the fact that it took less than four hundred years since the discovery of these "little creatures," by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek in 1676, for science to go from observing to creating.

I believe this monumental discovery represents a new era in science that has great potential but should move forward rather cautiously because the implications of our actions on nature, and the degree to which we alter our surroundings and living organisms, need to be taken thoroughly into consideration. 

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