If we can build it, we understand it… clearly we don’t understand life

This week in Pacific Standard I try to answer the question, why can’t we build life from scratch?

There are two primary ways biologists are trying to build life from scratch – evolution and intelligent design. People like Harvard’s Jack Szostak are trying to understand prebiotic evolution, by evolving autonomously replicating protocells in the lab. On the other hand, synthetic biologists, like those at the Venter Institute, want to be able to go to the whiteboard and intelligently design a genome from scratch. They already know how to synthesize and transplant a genome; designing it is another matter. As I wrote for Pacific Standard, we’re “like someone who knows how to work a 3-D printer but can’t design new digital templates for it.” Continue reading “If we can build it, we understand it… clearly we don’t understand life”

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via Jenny Winder

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