Scientists Create Self Replicating Building Blocks of Life

Posted by Bushel Basket in

Scientists at Scripps Research Institute have created indefinitely self-replicating RNA enzymes. Using the In Vitro Evolution technique, strains of RNA were developed that "can sustain molecular information, a form of heritability, and give rise to variations of itself in a way akin to Darwinian evolution."

While this isn't life created in a test tube, this is a major step forward. I find myself marveling at this advancement in science, but wonder about the potential implications given the limitations in bio ethics, intellectual property, and patent\copyright legislation. Genetically engineered organisms can already be patented, with disturbing implications. Bias is given to large corporations, enabling them to sue individuals for owning their patented products, simply because pollen from the engineered plants blew onto neighboring cropland.

This reminds me of the story of the golem, an artificially created being from Jewish legend. Many of the golem stories relate to the creature going out of control. Yet often the issue wasn't the creature itself, but the limited vision of those who created the creature. Similarly, science fiction is filled with ideas and stories about human creations gone awry. I hope that the power of narrative is used to inform researchers and ethicists in advance of their research projects, and not after the fact.

Read the entire article on the self-replicating RNA enzymes here:

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This entry was posted on Monday, January 12, 2009 at Monday, January 12, 2009 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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