Bacterium with Minimal Number of Genes to be used to create Designer Life Forms
Bacterium with Minimal Number of Genes to be used to create Designer Life Forms

A team of scientists has claimed that they have developed a bacterium with the smallest number of genes required to have life. Now, they hope the research could be used to create designer life forms.

The newly created bacterium has 473 genes. The creators from the J. Craig Venter Institute in California have no idea what action more than 30% genes of the bacterium actually perform. However, they say these genes are important and the microbe could even die without them.

These genes act as key elements, and the team is trying to figure out what they do, and they are very close, said J. Craig Venter, founder of the institute in California.

According to Venter, he and his team have been working to build synthetic life for 20 years. The main objective is to find a system to create designer life forms on a computer, said Venter.

In theory, it is important to add genes to this and use it to evolve other species, said Venter, who led the effort to sequence the full human genome.

To get lead in the research project, scientists must figure out what actually makes life. As per Venter, his team has started the research with simple bacteria, called Mycoplasma. Viruses contain only a few genes, but they are not able to live on their own. They usually use a cell for living. On the other side, bacteria can have a number of genes. They are not only self-contained, but capable of reproducing on their own.

During the recent experiment, the scientists found that many genes were part of a pair. “The finding of all these quasi-essential genes changes our perspective on this. If you want a cell that you know grows in a time scale that you can observe, you have to have these quasi-essential genes”, said lead researcher Clyde Hutchison.

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