Matt Wuerker

La vida hecha a pedido

MELBOURNE – En el siglo XVI, el alquimista Paracelso ofreció una receta para crear un ser viviente a partir de introducir esperma en un “venter equinus” putrefacto. Esto normalmente se traduce como “estiércol de caballo”, pero el latín “venter” significa abdomen o útero.

De modo que ahora los ocultistas sin duda encontrarán gracioso que Craig Venter sea la fuerza motora detrás del equipo de científicos que el mes pasado anunciaron la creación de una forma de vida sintética: una bacteria con un genoma diseñado y creado a partir de sustancias químicas en un laboratorio.

La nueva bacteria, apodada “Synthia”, replica y produce proteínas. Según toda definición razonable, está viva. Si bien es muy similar a la bacteria natural a partir de la cual básicamente se la copió, los creadores introducen fibras distintivas de ADN en su genoma para probar que no es un objeto natural. Estas fibras deletrean, en código, la dirección de un sitio web, los nombres de los investigadores y citas pertinentes, como la de Richard Feynman: “Lo que no puedo crear, no puedo entender”.

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