Pathologists Take Note: C. Craig Venter Just Created the First Synthetic Life Form

Milestone achievement may lead to more sophisticated clinical laboratory tests

Now science can create synthetic life forms and J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., is the first to do it. The landmark feat, which involved building the genome of a bacterium from scratch and incorporating it into a cell, “paves the way for designer organisms that are built rather than evolved,” noted the author of an article in

J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., best known to pathologists and clinical laboratory scientists for his role in sequencing the first human genome, achieved the feat at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland. Venter and his team synthesized the 1.08 million base pair chromosome of a modified Mycoplasma mycoides genome. The synthetic cell, called Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0, is proof of the principle that genomes can be designed in the computer, chemically made in the laboratory, and transplanted into a recipient cell to produce a new self-replicating cell controlled by the synthetic genome. The experiment demonstrates how fast genetic technologies are advancing.