Exploring the Science and Ethics Behind the First Man-Made Cell

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A team of scientists have successfully developed new living bacteria from non-living parts, which they’re calling the first “synthetic cell.”

The team, led by Dr. Craig Venter at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland, is presenting the research as a landmark achievement that could lead the way to creating products like vaccines and biofuels. At a press conference, Dr. Venter called the converted cell “the first self-replicating species we’ve had on the planet whose parent is a computer.”

So have we crossed into the brave new world and created artificial life?

Victoria Gill, a science reporter for the BBC, helps us better understand this breakthrough. Also with us to talk about the ethical implications is Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania.