Matt Wuerker

Leben auf Bestellung

MELBOURNE – Im sechzehnten Jahrhundert bot der Alchemist Paracelsus eine Rezeptur zur Erschaffung eines Lebewesens an, bei der zunächst Sperma in verfaulendes und verwesendes „Venter equinus“ gegeben wurde. Das lateinische „Venter“ wird normalerweise mit „Pferdemist“ übersetzt, bedeutet jedoch Abdomen oder Uterus.

Okkultisten werden also zweifellos ihre Freude an der Tatsache haben, dass Craig Venter die treibende Kraft hinter einem Team von Wissenschaftlern ist, das im vergangenen Monat verkündet hat, eine künstliche Lebensform erschaffen zu haben: Ein Bakterium mit einem Genom, das aus Chemikalien in einem Labor entwickelt und erschaffen wurde.

Das neue Bakterium mit dem Spitznamen „Synthia“ repliziert und produziert Proteine. Es ist jeder zureichenden Definition zufolge lebendig. Obwohl es große Ähnlichkeit mit einem natürlichen Bakterium aufweist, von dem aus es weitgehend kopiert worden ist, haben seine Erzeuger unterscheidungsfähige DNA-Sequenzen in sein Genom eingesetzt, um zu beweisen, dass es sich nicht um ein natürliches Objekt handelt. Diese Sequenzen buchstabieren in Form eines Codes eine Webseiten-Adresse, die Namen der Wissenschaftler und passende Zitate, wie etwa „Was ich nicht bauen kann, kann ich nicht verstehen“ von Richard Feynman.

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