This past week saw the report of the construction of the first chemically synthesized genome that was inserted into a pre-existing cell that then expressed the genome's phenotypic properties and was capable of continuous self-replication. The implications for microbiology can be profound. For example, can microbiology now "own" synthetic biology? This work may also raise philosophical issues with broad social and ethical implications.
Watch Jeff Fox, features editor for Microbe magazine, talk with Clyde Hutchison from the J. Craig Venter Institute, San Diego, and Jeffrey F. Miller, University of California-Los Angeles, about this achievement and its potential.