Craig Venter unveils “synthetic life”

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Published on: May 21, 2010

Here is the ted-talk about the synthetic life from Craig Venter.

Artificial life created by JVCI & co

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Published on: May 21, 2010

“… For 15 years, J. Craig Venter has chased a dream: to build a genome from scratch and use it to make synthetic life. Now, he and his team at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) in Rockville, Maryland, and San Diego, California, say they have realized that dream. In this week’s Science Express (www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/science.1190719), they describe the stepwise creation of a bacterial chromosome and the successful transfer of it into a bacterium, where it replaced the native DNA. Powered by the synthetic genome, that microbial cell began replicating and making a new set of proteins.

This is “a defining moment in the history of biology and biotechnology,” says Mark Bedau, a philosopher at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and editor of the scientific journal Artificial Life. “It represents an important technical milestone in the new field of synthetic genomics,” says yeast biologist Jef Boeke of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland….

[Life re-created. Blue colonies (top) indicate a successfully transplanted genome, with self-replicating bacteria revealed in an electron micrograph.  CREDITS (TOP TO BOTTOM): J. CRAIG VENTER INSTITUTE; T. DEERINCK AND M. ELLISMAN/NCMIR, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO]

More about this here:

Update: Critics rebuttals –> Its a technology feat. But not a synthetic life.

A new way to explain explanation, by David Deutsch

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Published on: May 18, 2010

For tens of thousands of years our ancestors understood the world through myths, and the pace of change was glacial. The rise of scientific understanding transformed the world within a few centuries. Why? Physicist David Deutsch proposes a subtle answer.. Here is the video from TED.

A Life of Its Own Where will synthetic biology lead us?

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Published on: May 18, 2010

Synthetic biology is a new field of biological engineering which aims to make biological engineering easier, by taking a more engineering approach – build’em and test’em.

A recent article in NYtimes explores this issue. Here is an excerpt:

“.. Scientists have been manipulating genes for decades; inserting, deleting, and changing them in various microbes has become a routine function in thousands of labs. Keasling and a rapidly growing number of colleagues around the world have something more radical in mind. By using gene-sequence information and synthetic DNA, they are attempting to reconfigure the metabolic pathways of cells to perform entirely new functions, such as manufacturing chemicals and drugs. Eventually, they intend to construct genes—and new forms of life—from scratch. Keasling and others are putting together a kind of foundry of biological components—BioBricks, as Tom Knight, a senior research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who helped invent the field, has named them. Each BioBrick part, made of standardized pieces of DNA, can be used interchangeably to create and modify living cells.”…

Another related article in the New Atlantis: [The promises and perils of synthetic biology]
More about Synthetic Biology: [www.syntheticbiology.org]

Everything you wanted to know about E.Coli

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Published on: May 18, 2010

E. Coli are fascinating creatures. They live everywhere, even within our bodies. In addition to being part of our daily lives, they also play an amazing role as a scientific tool in biology. Read/hear more about this fascinating creatures in sciam’s podcasts.

How Kevin Bacon Cured Cancer: A story about networks, 6 degrees of seperation

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Published on: May 18, 2010

Interesting videos about complex networks and degrees of seperation.

More about this here: [The Link]

The End of Theory: Will the Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete

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Published on: May 18, 2010

According to Chris Anderson, we are at “the end of science”, that is, science as we know it.” The quest for knowledge used to begin with grand theories. Now it begins with massive amounts of data. Welcome to the Petabyte Age.”

“At the petabyte scale, information is not a matter of simple three- and four-dimensional taxonomy and order but of dimensionally agnostic statistics. It calls for an entirely different approach, one that requires us to lose the tether of data as something that can be visualized in its totality. It forces us to view data mathematically first and establish a context for it later.”

More about this here from Edge.org: [The Link]

With various responses to that article: [The Responses Link]

Singularity: Special Report in IEEE

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Published on: May 18, 2010

In 2008, IEEE brought out a special issue on Singularity. Anybody who is interested in developments of technology will probably be familiar with the term (Technological) Singularity. Perhaps popularized by futurist Ray Kurzweil (author of “Singularity is Near”). Discussion about what is singularity, is this really  happening, who are the players..etc – are collected in this IEEE portal.

More of this here:  [IEEE Singularity Page]

35 People, Place and Things that will shape the future

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Published on: May 18, 2010

As appeared in 2008 EE times article. IMEC is named as one of the places!

More about this here: [The Link]

Why -> how -> what. talk by Simon Sinek

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Published on: May 7, 2010

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers — and as a counterpoint Tivo, which (until a recent court victory that tripled its stock price) appeared to be struggling..

Below is the talk from ted.com.
Also worth checking his website: http://www.startwithwhy.com/

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