Now That We Can Read Genomes, Can We Write Them?
May 10, 2017
(The Atlantic) – Since the Human Genome Project (HGP) was completed in 2003, scientists have sequenced the full genomes of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of species. Octopuses. Barley. Mosquitoes. Birch trees. Reading genomes is now commonplace, but that’s not enough for the group of scientists who gathered at the New York Genome Center on Tuesday. They want to write entire genomes with the same ease, synthesizing them from scratch and implanting them into hollow cells. One team already did this for a tiny bacterium in 2010, creating a synthetic cell called Synthia. But the New York group has set its sights on building the considerably larger genomes of plants, animals, and yes—after a lot of future discussion—humans.