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Yesterday I noticed that the web was a buzzing over two things in particular. One being the news of Craig Venter’s work on a proof of principle example of producing a synthetic organism, and the other being the unveiling of London’s 2012 Olympic mascots.
Venter’s work certainly is an achievement – particularly in the technical realm. The accomplishment of synthesizing a piece of DNA that big (nevermind that the code was derived from digital infomation) and then putting it inside a DNA-less cell, in manner where all appears well is actually quite the kudos. Add to that, the ethical implications of where this sort of thing might eventually lead, is also news worthy (read the NYT’s measured take on the work here).
However, I feel a little uncomfortable about the whole affair, because I think the timing is a little too conspicuous. It’s just too close to the introduction of the two olympic mascots, themselves looking very much the part of an organism born of synthetic DNA (a badly designed one at that). I smell a conspiracy…
Plus, I managed to get my hands on the “original abstract” for the Science paper below, and compare it to the finalized abstract – see any differences?
If nothing else, at least there’s now a “logical” reason for the weird looking Olympic mascots…
(For the record, my children thinks the blue one looks “sad” and the red one looks “angry.”)