It’s science fiction turned reality: from a closed-door Harvard meeting emerged a plan to create synthetic human genomes. That means assembling three billion chemical building blocks into one complete package of DNA, which encodes all the body parts and life processes that make up a functional human being. The project’s proponents say scientists could harness the power of life itself to create new medicines and artificial organs. But do the risks outweigh the rewards? Is making a human cell from data and raw materials opening the door to discovery or danger? Join Eliza Strickland, IEEE Spectrum, in conversation with researchers and critics about the ethics and implications of synthetic biology.
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